Two Groups Beef Up Personal Health Record PR Effort

July 17, 2007 ( - Insurer Aetna and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) have expanded their Web site so they can better educate the public about how to use their secure computerized health records.

A news release said the Plan for Your Health PR campaign, started in September 2004, now includes tips on maximizing and personalizing a Personal Health Record (PHR) and offers the top reasons to use the online information.

The announcement said the two groups decided to beef up the Web site after conducting a nationwide survey, which found that 64% of respondents said they do not know or are unsure about what a PHR is.

Meanwhile, among the group of Americans who are familiar with PHRs, 83% acknowledge that the online record personalizes their experience with their health care provider, but only 11% currently use one to keep track of their medical and health history, according to the press release.

The news announcement said a n estimated 70 million people have access to basic PHRs – password-protected, online records that store essential health information – through their health insurers.

“Keeping an updated and accessible record of essential health information is one simple way for consumers to take charge of their health and make visits with their doctor more productive, both for the patient and the doctor,” said Charles Cutler, national medical director, Aetna, in the news release. “But what we found in this survey is that people may not understand how PHRs can positively impact the quality of care they receive from their health care providers.”

The news release said the survey found that respondents had varying reasons for not fully using electronic records including that they:

  • have their own system for maintaining records (35%).
  • are concerned with the security of personal information (26%).
  • don’t know how to use and manage an electronic health record (18%).

The survey also found that:

  • fewer than one in 10 would turn to a PHR to access health information if displaced during a natural disaster. The majority of respondents would contact their physician (64%) or insurance company (16%) or say they do not know where they would find vaccination records, recent test results and their blood type (16%).
  • More than half (55%) of the women surveyed keep track of their medical and health history, but not through a PHR. By comparison, only 39% of men keep track of their medical and health history and 44% don’t keep track at all.

Ipsos Public Affairs conducted an online Omnibus survey from March 8-15, 2007 with a nationally representative sample of 2,185 adults, aged 18 years and older. Approximately 36% or 781 adults said they knew what a Personal Health Record (PHR) was and completed the entire survey.

The expanded health record Web site is at .