Personal Health Records (PHR) is a new and emerging concept in South Africa. A definition of PHRs is a collection of personal health information controlled by patients with information coming both from them and healthcare providers, and maintained in a private and secure environment where patients determine access. The lack of experience with PHRs in South Africa leaves the question of how individuals will use patient portals or PHRs if they have them. Given the ability to access their health record, questions arise such as do South Africans access it? What’s the perceived value of PHRs to patients? What are the perceived barriers to using PHRs?
My report, Perceived Value and Barriers to use of Personal Health Records by Patients in South Africa for Wits Business School in 2013, investigated these questions. The study used email to survey patients who use Healthspace.
The answers may enable PHR providers to tailor their product offerings better. They showed the following in terms of the perceived value of PHR and perceived barriers to PHR.
Perceived value of PHR to patients found that respondents:
Perceived barriers to use of PHR of respondents:
These findings provide part of the foundation for the next phases of Healthspace’s development. It’ll help to improve patients’ roles in their own healthcare.