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Rapid Growth in Use of Personal Health Records in New York, 2012–2013

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A Capsule Commentary to this article was published on 19 March 2014



Giving patients access to their own medical data may help improve communication and engage patients in healthcare. As a result, the federal electronic health record (EHR) incentive program requires providers to offer electronic data sharing with patients via personal health records (PHRs) or other technologies.


We sought to estimate the rate of adoption of PHRs over a 2-year period.


Survey of 800 respondents (margin of error: 3.5 percentage points) in consecutive years of the Empire State Poll, an annual random-digit-dial telephone survey.


Adult New York State residents.


Self-reported use of a PHR.


The rate of reported PHR use rose from 11 % in 2012 to 17 % in 2013. The proportion of these PHRs provided by doctors or healthcare organizations also increased sharply (from 50 % in 2012 to 73 % in 2013, p < 0.01) with a corresponding decrease in the proportion provided by insurers.


The proportion of New York State residents using PHRs increased by more than 50 % (from 11 to 17 %) in advance of a federal incentive program requirement that healthcare organizations with EHRs must share electronic data with patients in order to receive their incentives.

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This study was sponsored by the New York eHealth Collaborative, a public-private entity helping to develop and implement health information technology policy in New York State. Jessica Ancker is supported by K01 HS021531 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Jessica S. Ancker MPH, PhD.

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Ancker, J.S., Silver, M. & Kaushal, R. Rapid Growth in Use of Personal Health Records in New York, 2012–2013. J GEN INTERN MED 29, 850–854 (2014).

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