Evaluation of the Personal Health Record Pilot for Medicare Fee-For Service Enrollees from South Carolina. Research Questions and Objectives.


The major objectives for the evaluation of the PHR pilot for Medicare FFS beneficiaries were:

  1. To identify the key usability[1] and utility[2] components of PHRs.
  2. To identify best practices related to the development and deployment of PHRs, including standards that could be used for development and use.
  3. To explore the key issues and perceptions related to PHR use and adoption for Medicare beneficiaries.

To address these objectives, NORC developed the research framework with the key evaluation research questions and demonstrated how the evaluation activities would address each research question. Exhibit 1 below discusses both the research questions and the specific evaluation activities that address the research questions, and identifies the research questions as either primary or supplementary variables for each activity. 

Exhibit 1.   Research Framework Questions


X Primary   
O Supplementary

Pre Discussion Activities Discussions Observational Studies
Structured Interviews: Contractors Structured Interviews: Vendors Analysis of Usage data Providers Beneficiaries Beneficiaries
How effectively can stakeholders use the PHR to obtain the information of interest to them?   X X O X X
What appearance, design, and visual treatment options would increase usability (including for Section 508 compliance)?   O X O X X
What screen elements are confusing or difficult to use?   O X O X X
What key information should the PHR contain? O X O X X X
What are the key features the PHR should include? O X O X X X
How accessible is the information in the PHR? O X O X X X
What features contribute to user frustration? O X O X X X
Issues / Concerns            
How accurate/reliable is the system? X X O O O O
What implications does the PHR use have on providers?       X O O
Perceptions of Impact/Benefits            
How do PHRs affect patient-provider interactions?       X X X
How do PHRs affect patient self-care and self-management? O O O O X X
How do PHRs affect patient outcomes? O O O O X X

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