Research Activities March 2013, No. 391

Patient-centered interactive health records can improve use of preventive services

Health Information Technology

Americans receive only one-half of recommended preventive services. In an effort to improve patient use of preventive care, researchers developed and tested a higher-functioning personal health record, called an interactive preventive health record (IPHR). Sixteen months after access to the IPHR was provided, one out of four IPHR users were up-to-date on all preventive services—nearly double that of nonusers. A causal effect is suggested by large increases in the delivery of specific preventive services for users, such as cancer screening and immunizations, compared to little or no increase in the control and nonuser groups. The researchers included 4,500 patients from 8 northern Virginia primary care practices in their study.

The IPHR is an online, evidence-based, non-commercial patient portal with the capacity to interface with multiple electronic health records and perform various functions. The IPHR links patients to their clinician’s records, explains information in lay language, displays tailored recommendations and educational resources, and generates reminders. The IPHR addressed 18 preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The researchers believe that information systems that feature patient-centered functions, such as the IPHR, have potential to increase preventive service delivery. Engaging more patients to use these systems could have important public health benefits. This study is supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS17046). A research brief is available at

See "Interactive preventive health record to enhance delivery of recommended care: A randomized trial," by Alex H. Krist, M.D., Steven H. Woolf, M.D., Stephen F. Rothemich, M.D., and others in the Annals of Family Medicine 20, pp. 312-319, 2012.


Page last reviewed March 2013
Page originally created March 2013
Internet Citation: Patient-centered interactive health records can improve use of preventive services. Content last reviewed March 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.