Future of PHRs

May 6, 2008

The editor of Health Data Management has written an editorial piece on “PHRs: Where Are We Headed?” Because of a variety of products and uneven adoption, he wonders “whether PHRs ultimately will prove to be a passing fad or a ubiquitous technology.” He does note that PHRs are probably most effective for the chronically ill who will use them regularly to manage their conditions. He discusses extensively the privacy issue and the fact that many PHRs are not provided by HIPAA covered entities including Google and Microsoft. He quotes several leaders in the field including Holly Miller, MD of University Hospitals of Cleveland and the chair of HIMSS PHR committee on the use of tethered PHRs and the need for an interoperable model that allows patients to pull information from multiple providers.

The article certainly covers the confusing state of PHRs well but lacks a concluding recommendation. Maybe its difficult to make a recommendation or point a direction with some much activity and so little market consolidation or even consolidation of opinion. Let’s hope some of this is sorted out soon so that consumers, providers and employers can reap more of the promise of PHRs.

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