Electronic Patient Health Records (ePHRs) contain information created, accessed, monitored and maintained by patients. This paper describes how an ePHR called myhealthlocker™ was used by people with severe mental illness to monitor and input their own health-related outcomes, and whether they derived any benefit from it.
Individuals using local secondary mental health services were provided with access to myhealthlocker, an ePHR which allowed them to monitor their health and input information from Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) across to their clinical record. Participants were given support to use myhealthlocker through drop-in sessions facilitated by an Occupational Therapist. Usage of the site was monitored over time. Surveys and interviews were used to investigate what participants thought about the intervention.
32 of 58 participants used the ePHR (where usage was defined by logging in at least twice and completing a PROM). Almost all participants who used the site had been referred from community rather than inpatient services. Of those who used the site, 26 out of 32 used it primarily or exclusively through supported drop-in sessions. Almost half of those participants who used the site had used it outside the drop-in sessions. Those who used the site found it useful (n = 32), and most said they would continue to use it (n = 27). There were no apparent differences in usage across gender, diagnosis, and length of service use history. Suggestions for improvement included a social networking component, and finding ways to engage clinicians. In particular, users valued the ability to monitor health outcomes over time.
People with severe mental illness were able to use an ePHR and derive benefit from monitoring and inputting PROMs. Those who use the site are more likely to have been referred from community mental health services, and then supported to access the ePHR.
Keywords: Personal health record; Self-monitoring; Self-management; e-health; Patient reported outcome measures