Personal Health Records: A True "Personal Health Record"? Not Really ... Not Yet.
A true personal health record (PHR) needs to be comprehensive, interactive, patient-controlled and secure. Despite renewed interest in the potential benefits, the reality is that the PHR market remains fairly fragmented today and outside of a few well-publicized initiatives, current adoption is limited to niche uses of silos of information. Without major changes in behavior and dramatic increases in adoption of clinical systems, a true PHR – and the benefits associated with it – will not be possible.
The Global Institute for Emerging Healthcare Practices is the applied research arm of CSC’s Healthcare Group.
Personal Health Records (PHRs) have long held appeal as a way to empower patients by providing them with lifetime access and control over comprehensive and accurate information about their health. During the peak of the e-health boom ten years ago, it was difficult to pick up a healthcare IT publication without being reminded of the key role that PHRs were going to play in transforming healthcare.
PHRs were again in the news with the announcement that Google will discontinue their Google Health PHR in January 2012. Even though it can be argued that Google’s failure underscores some of the inherent challenges with PHRs, the buzz surrounding PHRs continues to grow. A few large integrated payer and delivery systems like Kaiser Permanente are offering patients access to increasingly sophisticated patient portals. Microsoft HealthVault, the primary competitor to Google Heath, continues to roll out new capabilities and features. The federal government has clearly made PHRs a priority. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) hosted a day-long public roundtable on PHRs in December 2010, and the recommendations from the HIT Policy Committee on Stage 2 meaningful use requirements would hold hospitals and eligible professionals (EPs) accountable for ensuring a minimum percentage of patients view their health information online.
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