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J Paediatr Child Health. 1994 Jun;30(3):248-52.

Retention and use of personal health records: a population-based study.

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Illawarra Public Health Unit, Keiraville, Australia.


A parent-held record has been issued to all children born in New South Wales (NSW), Australia since 1988. Five years after its introduction, an evaluation was undertaken to determine its retention rate over time, rate of documentation of immunization status and other important child health information, and its perceived usefulness to parents. The cross-sectional study comprised an interviewer administered questionnaire to 622 households derived from a stratified random sample of 25 local government areas, representative of 73% of all households containing children under 5 years of age in NSW. A concurrent postal survey assessed the attitudes and use of the Personal Health Record (PHR) among a stratified random sample of 911 health care providers. Results showed that the PHR was well retained, with 89% claimed retention at 4 years, and over 78% of parents able to produce the record for inspection at interview. Of the records examined, 91% had at least one immunization recorded while 68% had a complete regimen documented by age 4 years. Overall, 93% of parents expressed satisfaction with the PHR, while 64% of all health care providers also felt that the PHR was 'beneficial to the health care children received', although only 53% of these used it regularly to record their findings. It is concluded that the PHR currently issued in NSW is well retained and valued by parents, and used by and useful to a range of health professionals.

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