Governor plans to give Minnesotans access to PHRs by 2011

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proposed to give all Minnesotans access to an online personal health portfolio by 2011.

As the first step in this effort, the governor has directed the Department of Finance and Employee Relations to seek proposals for a secure and portable online personal health portfolio for each of the state's approximately 50,000 employees in 2009.

The governor announced his proposals in a speech at the annual meeting of the Smart Buy Alliance, a public/private coalition that uses its combined purchasing influence of more than 60 percent of Minnesota's population to drive improvement in the healthcare delivery system through market-based principles.

"Minnesota's healthcare system must be market-driven, patient-centered and quality-focused," Pawlenty said. "Minnesota took a giant step forward to transform our healthcare system this year. Now Minnesota will lead the nation in the development of portable personal health records and expanded consumer-directed healthcare spending accounts for state employees."

The portfolio will offer:

  • Electronic access to test results;
  • Access to one's own medical records electronically;
  • Instant access to immunization records; and
  • Prescription history and detection of interactions.

"In healthcare, information is power. Right now the consumer is the only person in the system without access to their healthcare information," Pawlenty said. "We need to turn that around and allow the consumer to build their own healthcare portfolio, control who has access to it and take it with them wherever they go for the rest of their lives."

The governor said he believes online portfolios will help control costs, increase quality and enhance safety. Parents will be able to save time tracking down immunization records required by schools and sports teams, patients can avoid duplicative tests and procedures and caregivers will avoid working at cross-purposes with each other because the healthcare information is not in one place, he said.

What do you think about the governor's proposal? Do you think that Minnesotans will take advantage of this offer? E-mail Associate Editor Molly Merrill at molly.merrill@medtechpublishing.com.

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