PHR adoption: How’s it going?

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The success of the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments’ personal health record systems will be measured by the acceptance of providers and patients.

“For younger providers, it is a natural thing,” said Col. David Gilbertson, AHLTA program manager at DOD’s Clinical Information Technology Program Office. “But older providers are sometimes reluctant to interact with a patient who is not sitting right there.”

The Office of Management and Budget set a goal for VA’s My HealtheVet PHR system to have 282,000 registrants by 2008, and it has already exceeded that goal by registering more than 540,000 users.
However, the number of veterans who have signed up for upgraded accounts with enhanced features remains at less than 10 percent of the total.

VA officials say they do not have specific goals for those upgraded accounts, but they are making a concerted effort to increase that number from its current level.

“Our focus during this five-year anniversary [of the PHR system] is to promote the in-person authentication process,” said Theresa Hancock, My HealtheVet program director. “Statistics show that increased features produce increases in registrations. As My HealtheVet is enhanced with features to make this personal health record more robust, registrations will increase.” 

Gilbertson said he has a similar hope for Tricare Online. With the deployment of additional features to the Web-based system, including PHRs, “it is anticipated that Tricare Online usage will increase over the next three years,” he said.

About the Author

Peter Buxbaum is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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