Fed panel tips hat to Microsoft, Google, Dossia for advances in PHR use

Microsoft, Google and Dossia have played a key role in advancing the use of personal health records, according to members of the American Health Information Community.

At a Tuesday AHIC meeting, members of the federal advisory panel hailed these three utility service models as "leading innovators," responsible for a major surge in the use of PHRs.

"PHRs are a very dynamic market," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, chairman of the AHIC Consumer Empowerment Workgroup. "Today there are more than 200 solutions, some through independent systems, some through providers, employers and consumer-controlled groups. This is a great step forward from when AHIC started 23 meetings ago."

John Moore of Chilmark Research, a presenter at AHIC's meeting, said PHRs are used to control behavioral change in patients and lower healthcare costs. But obstacles remain – doctors are skeptical about their accuracy, and portability is "all over the map."

Moore said the utility service models, such as those provided by Dossia, Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, allow consumers to stay firmly in control of their records, and portability has been demonstrated.

"These groups are doing the heavy lifting that other groups can't do now," he said. "Adoption potential is high because the value is high."

If Google and Microsoft ever violated privacy laws, "it would be a disaster for them," Moore said. "They have a very vested interest in keeping privacy. Google, Microsoft and Dossia have really raised the level of expectations across the whole market."

William Crawford, of Children's Hospital in Boston, said Dossia was created to control medical loss management and is not designed to filter out particular employees based on health issues.

Dossia is a non-profit, Web-based framework through which U.S. employees, dependents and retirees can maintain lifelong personal health records. Applied Materials, BP America, the Intel Corporation, Pitney Bowes and Wal-Mart funded the project.

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