Perceptions of chronically ill and healthy consumers about electronic personal health records: a comparative empirical investigation
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OBJECTIVE: To develop a model of consumer perceptions of electronic personal health records (PHRs) and validate it in a comparative study between consumers who report having a chronic illness and those who report being well. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A model of PHR use motivators and barriers was built and tested through a national survey across Canada. Data were collected from 800 individuals, 18 years or older. Half reported having a chronic illness or disability and half reported being well. Analyses were performed with structural equation modelling techniques. RESULTS: A total of 389 answers from chronically ill and 383 from well participants were collected. Perceived usefulness was the key explanation of the intention to use PHRs for both ill and well people (total effect of 0.601 and 0.565, respectively) followed by security, privacy and trust in PHRs (total effect of 0.377 and 0.479, respectively). Conversely, computer anxiety was perceived as a significant barrier (total effect of -0.327 for ill individuals and -0.212 for well individuals). DISCUSSION: The model proposed was appropriate in explaining key consumer positive and negative perceptions on electronic PHR use. We found little difference in perceptions of electronic PHRs between chronically ill and well individuals, although self-reporting their health status might have influenced the results. CONCLUSIONS: To increase the adoption rate of electronic PHRs among both chronically ill and well consumers it is necessary to reinforce consumer perceptions of the usefulness of and trust in these eHealth technologies while mitigating their anxieties about computer use in general.
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