New Study Shows e-Health Literacy Impacts PHR Adoption

e-Health Literacy Linked to Use of PHRs

The AHIMA Foundation is a non-profit affiliation of AHIMA with a mission to provide resources to support innovation in the health information field through research, leadership and scholarship opportunities. Established in 1962 as a nonprofit entity of AHIMA today the Foundation’s mission is to improve health information management to advance the HIM profession.

The AHIMA Foundation regularly publishes under Perspectives in Health Information Management, an online peer-reviewed research journal that links practice, education, and research to the understanding or improvement of health information management processes and outcomes. The Foundation recently released its latest research report, The Impact of Health Literacy on a Patient’s Decision to Adopt a Personal Health Record

Background of the Study
Researchers from the University of Central Florida surveyed 562 patients at a physician practice that was considering offering PHRs. The eight-question survey looked to evaluate the perceived ability of the study group to access their health information online, understand the information and use the data to make better decisions about their health. The study tested two hypotheses related to demographics and e-health literacy:

Hypothesis 1: Patients who are younger, are more educated, and have higher income are more willing to adopt the PHR than those who are older, less educated, and with lower income.

Hypothesis 2: Patients who have high levels of e-health literacy are more willing to adopt the PHR than those with low levels of e-health literacy.

Results of the survey
Research results showed the first hypothesis could not be supported because none of the  demographic factors of age, education and income were found to significantly impact a willingness to adopt a PHR.

The second hypothesis was supported, however, because questions pertaining to e-health literacy did significantly impact a willingness to adopt a PHR.

From the study results:

This study aimed to determine the relationship between a patient’s perceived ability to find and understand e-health information and that patient’s willingness to adopt and use a personal health record. Factors known to play a role in health literacy were also investigated to determine if additional relationships existed within this patient population. The theory of reasoned action provided a framework for a patient’s willingness to use a PHR based on his or her attitude toward using electronic health information.

You can read and digest the complete study here.