Reducing Healthcare Disparities through PHRs

Can health IT help reduce disparities in quality of care caused by racial and ethnic differences, geographic isolation, poverty, and low health literacy and consumer involvement? Authors of a new Journal web-exclusive story discuss the potential of personal health records to mitigate healthcare disparities.

HIM professionals can play four important roles, the authors write:

  • Advocating, designing, and testing PHR products that are sensitive to underserved populations
  • Promoting PHR use within their communities
  • Training both consumers and providers in PHR use
  • Helping secure personal health information to both safeguard individuals and build the trust that will encourage consumer acceptance of health IT

See “Healthcare Disparities and the Role of Personal Health Records” by Jennifer Garvin, Barbara Odom-Wesley, William J. Rudman, and Rachelle S. Stewart.

For a look at the need to improve data collection in support of efforts to reduce disparities, see the April 2009 Journal feature “Data Collection and Reporting for Healthcare Disparities.”

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