Access to Personal Health Records and Screening for Breast and Cervical Cancer Among Women with a Family History of Cancer


It is essential for at-risk women to be screened for breast and cervical cancer in a timely manner. Despite a growing interest in the role of health information technology including personal health records (PHRs) to improve quality and outcomes in health care, less is known about the effectiveness of PHRs to promote breast and cervical cancer screening among women with a family history of cancer (FHC). We examined the association between access to PHRs and the use of a recommended mammography and a Pap smear testing among women with a FHC using data from the 2015 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4-cycle 4) and the 2016 Area Health Resource Files. The study sample was comprised of 1250 women aged 20–75 years with a FHC, a subsample of 3677 survey respondents. Of the 1250 women, 64.96% received a mammogram, and 75.44% underwent a Pap testing. Among women with a FHC, there was a significant and positive association between access to PHRs and the receipt of a mammogram (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.20; 95% CI, 2.23–7.94; p <.001) and a Pap testing (aOR 3.13; 95% CI, 1.56–6.28; p <.01). Our findings suggest that at-risk women can benefit from greater access to PHRs. Policymakers should consider incentivizing providers and healthcare organizations who provide access to PHRs to their patients as well as developing programs that can help improve access to PHRs among at-risk women.

Publication Title

Journal of Cancer Education