EHR’s and the Future of PHR’s in Public and Private HealthJanuary 24, 2012
Patients are still slow in adopting personal health records (PHR) for a multitude of reasons. On the private healthcare side, evidence of slow adoption is evident by the fact that Google Health went dark on January 1, 2012. The personal health record did not have “the broad impact that we hoped it would,” wrote Aaron Brown, senior product manager of Google Health. The efforts of Google Health to “translate our successful consumer-centered approach from other domains to healthcare” had not panned out. The model that Google Health was operating under was driven by the patient taking control of populating their own health record. Research conducted around PHR use indicates that today few patients are interested in a digital health record file alone but they are interested in what the data can do for them.
One approach to build patient awareness that private healthcare providers can implement is to select and adopt an electronic health records (EHR) platform. Many EHR’s provide the functionality for providers to export a patient’s health record from their own database to a PHR. The PHR itself may be hosted by the provider through their own web portal or the patient’s health record can be downloaded to the PHR of the patients choosing. When private healthcare providers implement a usable EHR with this capability and proactively educate and encourage their patient’s to use their PHR, this will undoubtedly lead towards better health and patient outcomes.
The public healthcare side faces the similar opportunity with PHR use among patients. The challenge with public health is having the resources to implement usable EHR’s along with the lack of fully functional health information exchanges within communities. For a great perspective on what’s on the horizon for public health and PHR’s see: HIMSS: Public health and PHRs – don’t be left out