Background: The Personal Health Record (PHR) is an electronic record that allows patients to maintain, manage and access their health information in one secure location. However, despite these potential capabilities, the adoption rate of the PHR has been slow due to various challenges.
Objectives: This study, being the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, investigates the perceived barriers and /or challenges for PHR adoption in the Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs (MNGHA). The study explored perceived barriers and /or challenges from two different perspectives; a technical perspective and a social perspective.
Methods: The study was conducted using a mixed methods approach. A cross-sectional study design using a questionnaire was used to measure patients’ perceptions of the PHR and a qualitative approach through focus groups was used to capture comments and opinions from technical personnel for perceived technical barriers to PHR adoption.
Result: Results from 424 patients revealed a positive perception for PHR adoption with almost all of the participants (96.7%) indicating interest in using the PHR and the majority (73.3%) expressing no confidentiality concerns for the online accessibility of their health information. Patients with higher levels of education indicated higher interest in using the PHR and expressed more concern with confidentiality than patients with lower levels of education. However, the majority of patients (78.3%) expressed their lack of awareness of existing patient e-services on the MNGHA website. The themes that emerged from the focus groups reinforced lack of awareness of e-services as a potential barrier for PHR adoption as well as the role of policy in the regulation and business process for PHR adoption.
Conclusion: This study has highlighted the perceived challenges and barriers for adoption of the PHR in MNGHA-Riyadh. In order to ensure an efficient PHR with a strong adoption rate, effective steps need to be undertaken by building PHR awareness as well as setting clear guidelines and regulations from policy makers.