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PeerJ. 2015 Mar 19;3:e852. doi: 10.7717/peerj.852. eCollection 2015.

A pilot study to evaluate the magnitude of association of the use of electronic personal health records with patient activation and empowerment in HIV-infected veterans.

Author information

1
Department of Community Health Systems, University of California , San Francisco, CA , USA.
2
Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California , San Francisco, CA , USA.

Abstract

The HITECH Act signed into law in 2009 requires hospitals to provide patients with electronic access to their health information through an electronic personal health record (ePHR) in order to receive Medicare/Medicaid incentive payments. Little is known about who uses these systems or the impact these systems will have on patient outcomes in HIV care. The health care empowerment model provides rationale for the hypothesis that knowledge from an electronic personal health record can lead to greater patient empowerment resulting in improved outcomes. The objective was to determine the patient characteristics and patient activation, empowerment, satisfaction, knowledge of their CD4, Viral Loads, and antiretroviral medication, and medication adherence outcomes associated with electronic personal health record use in Veterans living with HIV at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The participants included HIV-Infected Veterans receiving care in a low volume HIV-clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, divided into two groups of users and non-users of electronic personal health records. The research was conducted using in-person surveys either online or on paper and data abstraction from medical records for current anti-retroviral therapy (ART), CD4 count, and plasma HIV-1 viral load. The measures included the Patient Activation Measure, Health Care Empowerment Inventory, ART adherence, provider satisfaction, current CD4 count, current plasma viral load, knowledge of current ART, knowledge of CD4 counts, and knowledge of viral load. In all, 40 participants were recruited. The use of electronic personal health records was associated with significantly higher levels of patient activation and levels of patient satisfaction for getting timely appointments, care, and information. ePHR was also associated with greater proportions of undetectable plasma HIV-1 viral loads, of knowledge of current CD4 count, and of knowledge of current viral load. The two groups differed by race and computer access. There was no difference in the current CD4, provider satisfaction, Health Care Empowerment Inventory score, satisfaction with provider-patient communication, satisfaction with courteous and helpful staff, knowledge of ART, or ART adherence. The use of electronic personal health records is associated with positive clinical and behavioral characteristics. The use of these systems may play a role in improving the health of people with HIV. Larger studies are needed to further evaluate these associations.

KEYWORDS:

Electronic personal health records; HIV; Patient activation; Patient empowerment; Veterans

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