Highly Used Functions. For this evaluation, utility is defined as the quality or condition of being useful in reference to the functionality of the PHR’s design. Findings of NORC’s environmental scan show that researchers have suggested that the number of times certain data elements or functions within the PHR are accessed can serve as a measure of utility. Identifying the highly used functions of the PHR can also provide an understanding of which features users found most valuable and ultimately provide insight into the features and functions that encourage PHR adoption by consumers. The Health Record Summary and Claims functions were seen as useful. Indeed, other than the PHR’s Home page, the Health Record Summary saw more views than any other pages. Beneficiaries were impressed with the thoroughness and the extent of detail available with the health record summary, feeling that it was far more comprehensive than paper summaries. The claims feature of MyPHRSC was cited as a useful tool to help beneficiaries keep track of finances. It also gave some details that were helpful to beneficiaries such as the name of the provider associated with the claim and the status of the claim.
Beneficiaries also reported that, although the current Medications page was cumbersome to use, tracking medications through the PHR was highly desirable for helping beneficiaries to reconcile their medications over time. Analysis of usage data revealed this page to be the third most used feature within MyPHRSC.
That a particular page was not among those most accessed in the PHR does not necessarily indicate that the feature was of little use to beneficiaries. It is possible that the feature might be of significant value to PHR users but that it is only occasionally needed. In the case of the Wallet Card, for example, usage data analysis revealed that this feature was infrequently accessed by beneficiaries. However, the wallet card feature was also highly favored among beneficiaries in the user observations and was the function which beneficiaries most commonly cited as useful for them. Beneficiaries liked the ability to print the card and bring it along to their appointments, and thought it would be especially important to have at hand while traveling.
Least Used Functions. The calendar feature was one of the least popular among beneficiaries. Many beneficiaries reported maintaining paper calendars at home, and preferred using these methods to an online calendar. They found the calendar to be redundant and less accessible than their paper calendars. Additionally, beneficiaries had difficulties creating multiple entries on the calendar.