Although the EHR and PHR have different end?user groups, they contain similar information. Ideally, they should be inter-operable. In the past few years, adoption of EHRs has been encouraged, whereas PHRs have not received the same level of attention. However, as Tang and Lansky and Ball et al discussed, the EHR alone may lack the ability to sufficiently motivate and engage patients to take a more active role in managing their own health, a condition found critical for improving care quality and efficiency . Therefore, PHRs have been recognized as a means of patient engagement. An EHR -coupled PHR, which is often referred as a patient?accessible EHR or tethered PHR , has been increasingly offered in the United States to patients as an institution?specific (limited to a certain organization) Internet portal by some large health care organizations (eg, Kaiser Permanente, Veterans Health Administration, Group Health Cooperative, CareGroup Health Care System, and Palo Alto Medical Foundation).
Due to the high incidence and prevalence of chronic conditions that generally require frequent monitoring and interventions, elderly people would benefit more because the PHR system could enable more coordinated and cost?effective communication and health care delivery.
The digital divide is defined as the gap that exists between individuals, groups, or communities in terms of the availability of ICT and the ability to use these technologies effectively.