Evaluation of the Medicare Personal Health Records Choice Pilot Program
Personal health records are widely viewed as a key element of health care reform. In January 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Medicare Personal Health Records Choice Pilot in Arizona and Utah. This project encourages Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries to take advantage of newer, more robust internet-based tools—personal health records—for tracking their health and health care services. Pilot participants chose from four systems on the open market, each of which provides a different set of functions.
We analyzed Medicare claims and personal-health-record-use data to report on how pilot participants differed from nonparticipants in key demographic and other characteristics, including health care utilization, costs, and quality of care. A separate analysis of participants examined how high personal health record users differed from low users with the same characteristics. The descriptive analysis was supplemented with a multivariate analysis to identify key predictors of participation in the pilot and the frequency of use among participants. The analysis is helping to develop an evidence base for understanding the role of personalized health information technology tools, such as personal health records, in improving the value of services for Medicare beneficiaries.