Online Health Records
While there is a spectrum of dominant PHR models, (standalone, tethered, integrated), the authors state that only the integrated model has true transformative potential to strengthen consumers' ability to manage their own health care. Integrated PHRs improve the quality, completeness, depth, and accessibility of health information provided by patients; enable facile communication between patients and providers; provide access to health knowledge for patients; ensure portability of medical records and other personal health information; and incorporate auto-population of content. Numerous factors impede widespread adoption of integrated PHRs: obstacles in the health care system/culture; issues of consumer confidence and trust; lack of technical standards for interoperability; lack of HIT infrastructure; the digital divide; uncertain value realization/ROI; and uncertain market demand. Recent efforts have led to progress on standards for integrated PHRs, and government agencies and private companies are offering different models to consumers, but substantial obstacles remain to be addressed. Immediate steps to advance integrated PHRs should include sharing existing knowledge and expanding knowledge about them, building on existing efforts, and continuing dialogue among public and private sector stakeholders.