UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Potential of Personal Health Record Portals in the Care of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders: Provider Perspectives

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Information Technology | Health Services Administration | Nervous System | Nervous System Diseases


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.


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

DOI of Published Version



J Spinal Cord Med. 2017 Mar 21:1-11. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2017.1293760. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The journal of spinal cord medicine

PubMed ID