A Lazy User Perspective to the Voluntary Adoption of Electronic Personal Health Records (PHRs)

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Kunene, K Niki; Diop, MameFatou
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Personal Health Records (PHRs) have been imbued with the potential to improve health outcomes for individual healthcare consumers, providers, and the broader healthcare system. With Meaningful Use Stage 2 now mandating the implementation of tethered PHRs, tethered to provider electronic health records (patient portals), will healthcare consumers voluntarily use PHRs and contribute to safety, quality, efficiency and reduced health disparities through engagement? Or will PHR use remain low? In this qualitative study, using grounded theory, we asked users how they currently managed their personal health information (PHI) and why. Using the lazy user model, we found that letting physicians manage healthcare consumers PHI is the least effort-based solution and thus the predominant and preferred solution. Providers as guardians of patient PHI suggests the low use rates may persist yet. We should do more to make these technologies usable and accessible to those with irregular contact with a primary care physician.