An exploratory study of the personal health records adoption model in the older adult with chronic illness

Melanie D Logue, Judith A Effken


Background Despite international efforts moving toward integrated care using health information technologies and the potential of electronic PHRs to help us better coordinate patient-centered care, PHR adoption in the United States remains low among patients who have been offered free access to them from private-sector companies. If older adult stand to benefit from the use of PHRs for its usefulness in self-managing chronic illness, why have they not been more readily adopted? Since the chronically ill older adult has unique circumstances that impact their decision to participate in self-directed care, a theoretical framework to help understand factors that influence the adoption of PHRs is important. Here we describe the results of an exploratory study that provided an initial test of such a framework.

Methods The study used a descriptive survey methodology with 38 older adults. The survey questionnaire asked about the personal barriers and facilitators associated with personal health record adoption and included items measuring each of the PHRAM’s four interacting factors (environmental factors, personal factors, technology factors, and self-management), and the resulting behavioural outcome.

Results Younger seniors had a more positive attitude toward computers, knew what health resources were available on the internet, agreed that they had the resources in place to use PHRs, and would be more influenced by a family member than a healthcare provider to use them. Conversely, older seniors reported less confidence in their ability to use Internet-based PHRs and did not perceive that they had the resources in place to use them.

Conclusions The results of this study indicated that personal, environmental, technology, chronic illness, and behavioral factors operated concurrently as personal barriers and/or facilitators to the adoption of PHRs among the older adult with chronic illness. These factors cannot be isolated because the person commonly weighs risk with benefit and determines the personal value of adopting PHRs.


personal health records; theoretical framework; chronic illness; older adults; self-management

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