Wanted: Quickstart guide for personal health platform

By John Moore
11:48 AM

This has been a year that I will not be sad when it is laid to rest.

In June I fractured my right heel while hiking in Tevas. (Note to self, if you are hiking, where hiking boots!). July rolls around, a number of stressful events occur and I end up with some sort of stress related, intestinal nightmare. Been on Prilosec for last couple of months, saw GI last week, endo scheduled for mid-December.  Then, in a charitable act I do the local benefit ride, Hub on Wheels, only to go down in a wet corner, fracturing right wrist and receiving a nasty laceration above right eye.

How many separate institutions have been involved in my care over the last six or so months (physicians, clinics, lab and hospitals)?

Heel, 2: Radiologist and podiatrist, each separate practices.

Intestinal problem, 2: Primary care doctor (clinic), lab work, (clinic), specialist (Boston Medical Center).

Bike crash, 2: Trauma/ER (Brigham & Women’s), plastic surgeon (Faulkner Hosp.), orthopedist (brigham & Women’s).

Six separate institutions, each with their own separate systems, distinct policies and procedures for gaining access to/copies of one’s records.  And in my initial inquiries, I’ve yet to find any of these institutions that will provide my records neatly packaged in a common CCD or CCR format on a CD or USB that I could then easily upload into my personal health platform (PHP).  All institutions stated I can certainly get a copy, but it will require going to separate offices, facilities, filling out release forms what have you to get those records, and they will be, rum roll please…

on paper.

Since none of the institutions mentioned above have a relationship with either Google Health or HealthVault, if I want my information stored in one of these accounts, I will have to enter the information myself or use one of the services on these platforms (Health Postbox Express or yourHealth), which you can send your records to (or automatically retrieved from your clinician) and they’ll upload your personal health records for a small fee.

My God that seems like a lot of work. I work in this industry and find this task of collecting my records daunting.  Is it any wonder that consumer adoption of these platforms and PHRs in general is so lackluster?

There is a sliver of hope in that the meaningful use requirements for HIT adoption under ARRA do support consumer access to their records and better yet that physicians provide their customers a PHR in 2013 (still don’t know what that PHR might be, could be a disaster if it is nothing more than a tethered, portal view into EMR), but that still does not overcome the basic challenge for just about anyone:

  • How do I get copies of my records?
  • How do I know my records are complete and accurate?
  • If the records are incomplete or inaccurate, how do I rectify?
  • What format (standard) should I ask for if I have a choice?
  • How do I get these records into my personal health record account?

These may seem like basic questions, but they are very real and there is no clear and compelling document out there today (if you find one please provide a link in comments section) that lays it out in plain English (or other language of your choice).

Google Health, HealthVault, WebMD, Dossia and PHR vendors are you listening?

What the market needs, heck what I need is a clear and concise QuickStart Guide that addresses the questions above. Any takers?


John Moore blogs regularly at Chilmark Research.