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Monday, November 17, 2008

PHRs: Round Two, HealthVault?

I’ve been following the progress of the companies that provide online personal health records (PHR). Google and Microsoft are two of the main contenders in the race to dominate the online PHR market. As PHRs makes their way online in increasing numbers, it’s hard to say who will be most successful.
Companies like mine advocate emboldening employees to fill out their personal health records. But do we know PHRs really work to improve health? Not yet.
In March 2007, Microsoft came out with HealthVault, which allowed patients to store health records online, make appointments and manage medications. Six months later Google appeared with Google Health and what some, like IT health and security expert, Fred Trotter, viewed as stronger health privacy policies and security.

To get a complete summary of the early personal health record skirmishes, see Craig Stoltz’s Health 2.0 Really..? blog. You can also see some of the security issues I identified in this blog last May.
Now comes HealthVault, in cahoots with Cleveland Clinic physicians, to put their PHR system to the test, reports the Cleveland Clinic.

A pilot study, begun November 3, 2008, will track 400 patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure. Patients will use medical monitors at home to record their blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and heart rate. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic and patients at home can each manage and track patients’ health progress using HealthVault.

The pilot, says C. Martin Harris, MD, chief information officer at Cleveland Clinic. “is intended to demonstrate that utilization of our comprehensive PHR system can empower patients and physicians to better communicate and manage chronic conditions, improve efficiencies and hopefully lower costs."
Which PHR system do you advocate for your employees? Let me know, and I’ll keep you updated on the war as it continues.

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