There’s probably no bigger fan of PHRs than yours truly here, but where’s the awareness and out reach here, it doesn’t exist. The technology is out there, but what good is it if nobody uses it or realizes the value.

Consumers, much less doctors and clinical staff all over have not a clue as to what they are! I know that first hand when talking to them as I mention online health records and I usually get a response like “huh?”. I try to encourage physicians to set up one for themselves so they can see the value, but again we are back to knocking heads around in healthcare with resistance to technology, nothing new there. Who’s going to help the seniors on the pilot program, we want them to use and have personal health records but are we going to leave them totally on their own to figure it out?

We all need health records from the bottom of the totem pole all the way up to the top, so where’s the big executives at the top? Do they have a set of online health records set up? It would certainly help in the education process if we could see some information on how Steve Ballmer is using his, or Mike Leavitt, Bill Gates, Sergie from Google and so on. Just an idea from my very small point of view here. Would really be nice to have some stories on how they see the value with Personal Health Records, and it would also have the power to reach the masses.

After reading this study on how much can be saved, I think we have motivation, perhaps. I have only found a few others besides myself on the web who are promoting PHRs, Dr. Crounse from Microsoft, Dr. Halamka from Harvard/Beth Israel and various pieces from Kaiser Permanente on the web. I see PHRs mentioned in other blogs, and again those who talk about their use in their blogs don’t seem to get personal, in other words, what blogs are for, communicating how technology and other items are helping and adding value to their day to day lives, what’s their PHR doing for them or do they in fact themselves have one? I don’t see any other bloggers linking to the PHR websites either, so what’s up with that?

I know I have gone on here with a bit of a rant, but hopefully it might touch some ears somewhere along the line to make a bit of a difference, as if nobody realizes the value and doesn’t speak out, then we are just maybe sitting on one of the best kept secrets and tools in healthcare; falling short once more in the education processes. BD

A new study makes the bold claim that widely adopted personal health records could save the U.S. health care system more than $19 billion annually after expenses.

The study, from the Center for Information Technology Leadership at Partners Healthcare System in Boston, bases the big-ticket savings conclusion on several major assumptions.

The study concludes that providing interoperable PHRs to 80% of the population would cost $3.7 billion in startup costs and $1.9 billion in annual maintenance costs. And it finds that these PHRs would save more than $21 billion annually, with most of the savings going to payers.

The predicted savings break down as follows:
* Sharing of complete test results: $7.9 billion
* Congestive heart failure monitoring: $6.3 billion
* E-visits supported by PHRs: $4.8 billion
* Electronic medication renewals: $1.1 billion
* Smoking cessation management: $1.04 billion
* Electronic appointment scheduling: $170 million
* Pre-encounter questionnaires: $72 million
* Sharing of complete medication lists: $9.2 million

The study was funded by “unrestricted research funding” from three vendors involved in PHRs: Google, Microsoft Corp., and InterComponentWare Inc. Others providing grants included the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Kaiser Permanente and Partners Healthcare System.

Study Predicts Big Savings from PHRs

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