Perspectives on the Future of Personal Health Records

Christopher J. Gearon

This report assesses the promises, perils, and challenges of personal health records and the impact they could have in the coming years based on the perspectives of leading experts in the field.

June 2007

As a hub of information and information-management tools controlled by the patient, personal health records present a number of promises, perils, and challenges in the years ahead. In this report, six experts share their views on the future of PHRs, from the perspectives of the technologist, informed patient, physician, employer, and public health professional.

The ideal PHR holds tremendous potential according to these experts. It could receive and evaluate information from a patient's lab results or monitoring devices, store a patient's observations about the physical and social environment, link with a clinician's electronic health record, and much more. On a grander scale, PHRs could also make health care more affordable by urging prevention and wellness, and by streamlining care delivery.

But some worry that PHRs might disrupt the doctor-patient relationship, saddle overburdened physicians with unreimbursed information-management duties, and overload consumers with data.

The full report is available under Document Downloads.