Children’s Hospital Boston, PPOC to combine patient health records

By Kyle Hardy
11:16 AM

Children's Hospital Boston has launched a partnership to enable patients to collect health data from two major sites of care into a single personally controlled health record (PCHR).

The partnership will allow patients in Children’s ambulatory programs and the primary care unit at the Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Children's (PPOC) to aggregate clinical data from sessions at both locations. Officials say this is one of the first instances where two organizations will deliver personal health data into a single PCHR.

"We see this as a major step forward in the advancement of the ultimate goal of PCHRs and ongoing efforts to create data liquidity for patients and providers," said Daniel Nigrin, MD, chief information officer at Children's. "This will exemplify a revolutionary new model for health information exchange and present combined health data to patients in a way that is easily accessible and manageable."

The PCHR, described as a new type of electronic medical record, is powered by the Indivo system, which was designed and developed by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP).

Patients at Children’s Hospital who receive treatment in the ambulatory care department can view their PHCR by using the hospital’s patient portal, MyChildren’s, which was launched earlier this year

"We built MyChildren's around Indivo to put patients in control of their health information and give them the opportunity to create a single, secure, unified view of their records," said Kenneth Mandl, MD, an attending physician in Children's Division of Emergency Medicine, CHIP faculty member and co-founder of the Indivo system.

"With patients at the center of information exchange they can decide what information they want included in their record and who they want to have access to that information, be it a provider or family member,” said Mandl. “For physicians, PCHRs promise to be an integrated source of a patient's healthcare information, ensuring the data are in the right place at the right time – something that is oftentimes absent in today's healthcare environment."

The new collaboration, involving Westborough, Mass.-based eClinicalWorks, will soon focus on the integration of the eClinicalWorks Electronic Health exchange solution, which is expected to provide the interoperability required to create “community records."

"Just as EMRs have transformed the way physicians practice medicine, PCHRs promise to change the medical process for patients – demystifying the process and activating individuals to become more involved in their healthcare," said Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks.

PPOC officials expect that by October, more than 75 percent of their members will be up and running with an EMR, and remaining practices to be fully implemented by September 2010.

"We've tried to be very thoughtful about our EMR implementation and worked closely with our members and eClinicalWorks to customize the product and incorporate the system into workflows," said Greg Young, MD, president and CEO of the PPOC. "Because of the diversity of our membership and the populations they serve, it was important that the EMR be tailored to fit patients' needs."

The PCHR is viewable to hospital clinicians via the hospital's Cerner electronic medical record system when granted permission by a patient. Members of the PPOC will have the same access to the PCHR through eClinicalWorks, which will embed the system into existing workflows to encourage easy access and use.

Children's, the PPOC and eClinicalWorks aim to complete integration with MyChildren's and its Indivo PCHR by early 2010.