NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 16, 2010

The results of a survey released today of thousands of users of electronic personal health records nationwide (PHRs) revealed that while the wealthy tend to use them more, it is the poor who derive the greatest benefits from online records, says BusinessWeek. 

The survey, which included 1,849 respondents, was funded by the private California HealthCare Foundation and conducted by the Lake Research Partners.  The survey took into consideration demographics of PHR users.  Of Americans who use PHRs: 

  • 13 percent have household incomes of $75,000 or greater.
  • 12 percent are college graduates and frequent Internet users.
  • 11 percent are men aged 29 to 45.
  • 9 percent have chronic conditions and 8 percent live in metropolitan areas. 

According to Michael Perry, a partner with Lake Research Partners, while the typical user of PHRs are younger, higher educated and have higher incomes, individuals with less education, lower incomes and those with chronic health conditions are the ones who may benefit the most: 

  • 58 percent of PHR users with annual incomes under $50,000 feel more connected to their doctors versus 31 percent with those with higher incomes.
  • 55 percent of users without a college degree ask more questions as a result of their PHRs versus 26 percent of college-educated users.
  • 40 percent of users with two or more chronic health conditions did something to improve their health as a result of their PHR versus 24 percent of others surveyed. 

So while these populations may be less likely to be using PHRs now, the potential for them is perhaps greater.  California leads the country in use of PHRs with 15 percent.  Regionally, the Northeast showed 6 percent use, the South and Midwest had 5 percent use and the West overall had 11 percent use.  Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said the most useful thing about a PHR is ensuring their medical information is correct, says BusinessWeek. 

Source: Lucas Mearian, "Rich more likely to use eHealth records but poor benefit more, survey finds," BusinessWeek, April 13, 2010. 


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