The article is from Information Week and I agree as I thought PHRs were great when announced.  I have a very small file but I also have my 87 year old imagemother with a PHR that is really good to have and we add to it from time to time and we have the basics in there, medications and allergies if nothing else are the top priorities for others to know as one or the other without enough information is enough to potentially kill or harm you with medical care.  There are both “tethered” and “non tethered” PHRs and for me, being I’m not part of a large group like Kaiser, the non tethered works for me.

I would not want one from an insurance company; however I would take all the information they had to offer in one way download file for sure.  It’s always good to see what is on file and sometimes you find mistakes too so with any PHR if you are offered information from a medical concern or insurance company that goes one way, take it.  Since Google Health and HeatlhVault started I began the section for PHRs on this blog and about 80% of the articles in that section are those two and I explored how bar coding can get in there too. 

Way back in October of 2009 I even spoke with Curtis Schroeder from Bumrungrad Hospital as they were attending the first International Tourism Conference here in Los Angeles.  I recorded the interview with my phone and this was long before all were doing live broadcasts via phone.  Since QIK has now been bought by Microsoft and Skype I noticed my video is now you can read my write up here.  That’s what I get for being ahead of my time:)

Interview with Curtis Schroeder, CEO Bumrungrad International Hospital and Nate McLemore, Health Solutions at Microsoft – International Personal Health Records with HealthVault


Also HealthVault has a cloud imaging viewer now too and it makes it real simple.  Some ER rooms don’t even have a dicom viewer on the PCs so with this just download the program and it’s there.  We all know how expensive and time consuming imaging tests are so if you don’t have to repeat one it’s easier on the patients and less expensive as well. 

HealthVault Begins Storing Medical Images (Dicom) Using Windows Azure Cloud Services With Full Encryption

It just all depends on the individual and organizations like Kaiser Permanente pre-populate a lot of the information and thus make it easy for the patient and actually they are more of the “portal” style of a PHR.  Back in 2010 I interviewed Dr. Richards from Kaiser who spoke both of how the PHR works for patients and how the EHR coordinates for her use, a win-win. 

Kaiser Permanente Pediatrician Patricia Richards Explains How The Use of Electronic Medical Records Enhances Knowledge With Obesity and Adds Focus to the “Let’s Move” Obesity Prevention Campaign


Microsoft just announced today the expansion of HealthVault to Germany and another newcomer, MMRGlobal ( continues to grow their PHR business with a little different business model.  They have a few different things happening and the PHR is not free but cost very little and has the capability to integrate with EMRs and they have a set up for doctor’s offices to lease to help in the set up, as well all know that’s what takes time.  They provide a full document service to get the paper in the files.  I’m kind of glad I looked over there again as it has been a imagewhile they also integrate with the Blue Button Campaign for Veterans and provide a 90 free trial of their PHR with it, not bad.  The monthly charge is $9.95 and you get some phone support…that’s nice and you can add your pets too.  I see they also have faxing which I have used with HealthVault a while back.  You can read more at the website.  BD

“MyMedicalRecords gives you the powerful ability to upload images such as x-rays, scans and MRIs into your account directly from your PC.  So in addition to documents, MMR lets you store pictures as well.

Another reason for not using PHRs, readers said, was the inconvenience of using such programs, which require too many passwords, mouse clicks, and related hurdles. One IT pro, was commenting specifically about patient portals, said that in his experience, patients would much rather use simple email to communicate with their doctor then jump through all the hoops required to enter data into a portal. In his words, "After a year and a half of really aggressively recruiting our patients to sign up for the portal, we got only 10% signed up. My gut feeling is that the process of using the portal is just too complex and inconvenient."

That's quite a list of negatives: mistrust, apathy, inconvenience, and fear of data breaches. Will PHR providers ever overcome them all? Not anytime soon, but despite all these concerns, I still believe the benefits of a PHR outweigh its risks for many patients--especially adults with chronic disorders and the parents of children with life-threatening diseases.


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