Potential of personal health record portals in the care of individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders: Provider perspectives

Jennifer N. Hill, Bridget M. Smith, Frances M. Weaver, Kim M. Nazi, Florian P. Thomas, Barry Goldstein, Timothy P. Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context/Objective: Although personal health record (PHR) portals are designed for patients, healthcare providers are a key influence in how patients use their features and realize benefits from them. A few studies have examined provider attitudes toward PHR portals, but none have focused on those who care for individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D). We characterize SCI/D provider perspectives of PHR portals, including perceived advantages and disadvantages of PHR portal use in SCI/D care. Design: Cross-sectional; semi-structured interviews. Setting: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Centers in the Veterans Health Administration. Participants: Twenty-six SCI/D healthcare providers. Interventions: None. Outcome Measures: Perceived advantages and disadvantages of PHR portals. Results: The complex situations of individuals with SCI/D shaped provider perspectives of PHR portals and their potential role in practice. Perceived advantages of PHR portal use in SCI/D care included the ability to coordinate information and care, monitor and respond to outpatient requests, support patient self-management activities, and provide reliable health information to patients. Perceived disadvantages of PHR portal use in SCI/D care included concerns about the quality of patient-generated health data, other potential liabilities for providers and workload burden, and the ability of individuals with SCI/D to understand clinical information accessed through a portal. Conclusion: Our study highlights advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when promoting engagement of SCI/D healthcare providers in use of PHR portals, and portal features that may have the most utility in SCI/D care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-308
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Patient portals
  • Personal health records
  • Provider attitudes
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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