Turning on the Tap: PHRs Improve Patient Communication and Engagement

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

Turning on the Tap: PHRs Improve Patient Communication and EngagementCommunication, especially with customers, is the lifeblood of any business. Unfortunately, security concerns and government regulations can prevent communication from flowing smoothly in healthcare organizations.

There’s good news, however. More homecare organizations are adopting health information exchange platforms (HIEs) to communicate with other providers and regional health information organizations, and those platforms enable creation of personal health records (PHRs).

Through a PHR, patients and their families can communicate with their homecare provider and access medication information and test results using a secure web connection. Patients can also specify what data they are willing to share with other providers.

Perhaps the best news is that PHRs have been shown to improve patient engagement in the care process. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) said many trials of PHRs have shown they improve patient and family access to knowledge for self-management of health and wellness issues.

Here are some ways PHRs help improve patient satisfaction:

  • Better communication with caregivers leads to improved relationships, which can lead to enhanced patient/provider shared decision-making
  • Access to providers helps reinforce trust and confidence
  • Better access helps patients feel more like partners in healthcare

Although PHRs have not been adopted by the general public at the rate some expected (Google Health’s failure to catch on is a good example), PHRs are popular with the exact population served by homecare agencies. According to the JAMIA article, people with disabilities and chronic conditions, frequent users of healthcare services, and people caring for elderly parents tend to have the most interest in PHRs.

Involving patients in their own care surely will improve outcomes and strengthen ties with the homecare community.

Learn more about how intelligent and collaborative home health software can enable patient communication by liking us on Facebook and subscribing to the McKesson Homecare Talk blog.

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