May 2007

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology


Oregon Health & Science University


Personal Health Records (PHRs) are gaining attention within the greater medical community. PHRs give consumers a platform to compile health information from multiple sources and provide a vehicle for this information to be stored in one place. PHRs can take many forms, but a common feature is that the individual is the custodian of the information, often responsible for collecting, entering, storing and distributing the information. PHRs are being championed by many stakeholders including medical providers, government and insurers, and experts are providing suggested content and best practices for these tools. Consumers have expressed interest and excitement in PHRs, but these tools have not yet been widely adopted. Research shows that individuals perceive benefit from PHRs, but there are few good examples that PHRs alter health outcomes. This paper provides an overview of PHRs, examines consumer attitudes toward and benefits of PHRs, and recommends additional studies be conducted demonstrating that PHRs can change behaviors and alter health outcomes. These studies are necessary for stakeholders to continue to invest in PHR development, maintenance and utilization, and to justify widespread adoption of PHRs.




School of Medicine



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