Personal Health Records: Employers Proceed with Caution

Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher: California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Janlori Goldman

Research Area: Health

Type: Brief


With health care spending on the rise, employers are increasingly at the forefront of shaping solutions to promote employee wellness. Some are beginning to offer personal health records (PHRs) as a tool to improve health and manage costs. This issue brief reports on findings from interviews with large employers regarding the use of PHRs. It explores current initiatives, legal and policy issues, and the effect of privacy rules. It also identifies the barriers that are limiting adoption and expansion and includes specific recommendations to help employers overcome these challenges. Among employers' concerns are the cost of PHRs and their uncertainty regarding return on investment. Other impediments include: a lack of a sustainable business model and demonstrable economic benefits; weak consumer demand and use; and an unclear legal and regulatory environment around patient privacy and security.