Study: PHR Alerts to Patients Help Narrow ‘Prevention Gaps’
December 1, 2014 in News
Using personal health records to send alerts about needed care to patients with chronic conditions helps improve treatment, according to a study published last month in Telemedicine and e-Health, FierceEMR reports (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 11/24).
For the study, researchers recruited 584 patients with high risk for cardiovascular disease from 73 primary care practices. Participants were enrolled in a PHR system that sent patients alerts for needed tests, or “prevention gaps,” such as a mammogram. Patients with gaps received a maximum of three messages per week for all services due within a two-month window (Hess et al., Telemedicine and e-Health, November 2014).
The researchers sought to investigate how sending PHR alerts to patients with chronic illnesses can increase the amount of patients receiving recommended care, noting that patients with chronic conditions typically receive less than 60% of recommended services.
The researchers found that 86% of participants received at least one of the reminders. Of those participants:
- 61% responded either by using the PHR or seeking care after the first message; while
- 73% responded electronically or sought care after receiving a second message.
The researchers noted that it took more notifications for patients to respond to issues that required them to schedule an appointment, compared with issues that could be resolved through documentation.
They wrote, “Active notifications through a PHR can be used to provide patient-centered decision support, without incurring alert fatigue,” adding, “These tools may help achieve better care and health for patients” (FierceEMR, 11/24).