Are Personal Health Records the Right Path?

Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media , August 25, 2009

Prioritize health information technology. "I focused on the internal organizational work first," says Boyer. "A lot of CIOs still need to focus on an EMR." Once facilities have that EMR, they can determine how to pull together the data for a continuity-of-care record and start planning the data repository that will be needed to house the CCR, she says.

Determine patient priorities. PHRs cannot be generic. They have to incorporate elements that are critical to an individual's health, says Boyer. Both Mayo Clinic and NewYork-Presbyterian developed PHRs that help patients interpret data. NewYork-Presbyterian's PHR also alerts patients if they pick a weak password.

Patients with chronic conditions may be the more compelling users early on, but there are benefits for healthy people, such as having access to medical information and baseline data regardless of where they are, says Tulledge-Scheitel. "Having the ability for it to be very portable and not tethered to an entity—employer, insurance plan, or hospital—we believe is essential because people are highly mobile today."

Carrie Vaughan is a senior editor with HealthLeaders magazine. She can be reached at

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