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JMIR Res Protoc. 2013 Jan 22;2(1):e8. doi: 10.2196/resprot.2302.

Barriers and Facilitators of Online Patient Portals to Personal Health Records Among Persons Living With HIV: Formative Research.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease Division, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, NY, United States.



Federal meaningful use standards are promoting adoption of online portals to personal health records (PHRs). However, relatively little is known regarding barriers and facilitators for vulnerable groups such as persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLWH).


The objective of this study was to assess barriers and facilitators to use of online PHRs among PLWH.


We conducted formative research using a written waiting room survey among 120 PLWH regarding barriers and facilitators of portal PHR use. We supplemented findings with data collected from a PLWH focus group, where some members had personal experience with use of a portal.


The survey had 90 respondents. Eight PLWH participated in the focus group. Most patients (77/90, 86%) reported having at least some experience using the Internet and most expressed interest in features offered by the portal. Notably, 70% (63/90) expressed some interest in being taught how to use it to communicate with their provider. Focus group themes reinforced these findings, but also voiced concern regarding access to private computers.


Many PLWH in our sample have experience using computers and most are interested in PHR features. However, computer or broadband access and privacy are important barriers.


HIV; education of patients; health records; personal medical informatics

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