Case Studies

Use of Personal Health Records at Howard University Hospital

Howard University Hospital
Washington, DC
266 Beds

Howard University Hospital is a private, nonprofit teaching hospital located in Washington, D.C.

The Problem
Fragmented care and changes in insurance plans, especially for the Medicaid population, prompted the leadership of Howard University Hospital to develop a program that gives patients access to an electronic personal health record and improves continuity of care.

The Solution
Howard University Hospital provided patients in its diabetes program with a free electronic personal health record, linked to the electronic medical record, to help them monitor a range of clinical indicators important to a diabetic’s health, including blood sugar and weight. Clinicians are able to check how their patients are doing and follow up with them between visits. Patients are invited to enroll in the program and get assistance setting up the personal health record, with training and ongoing support.

The Result
The program increased patient engagement, especially for patients with Medicaid insurance. Hemoglobin A1c levels fell by approximately 13 percent for patients participating in the program, compared to an increase in levels for those not participating.

Lessons Learned
Patients are more apt to use the program if clinicians use the data during visits with their patients. In addition, it is important to remove any barriers for use by patients, including making it easy for them to obtain passwords.

Contact Information
Robin C. Newton, MD
(202) 865-6825

This case study was originally featured in the HPOE guide: "Engaging Health Care Users: A Framework for Healthy Individuals and Communities," published January, 2013.

Additional Resources

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