Just how personal?

I’ve been writing quite a bit of late about personal health records, as have many of my peers. I’ll be writing some more in the next few weeks (though you won’t see the result for at least a couple of months). It’s clearly a hot topic in the realms of consumer empowerment and the push toward interoperability. But the general consensus is that a PHR, which can take many forms, is merely a subset of a true EHR.

Is that thinking wise when trying to empower patients with control of their health information? An American in Paris, namely blogger and consultant Denise Silber, doesn’t seem to think so. She notes in a post that’s now a few months old that “personal” has carried the day in France, where the EMR is called dossier médical personnel, or “personal medical file.”

Silber writes, “Why? Because one of the most important aspects of the French EMR is that the information belongs to the patient.”

Contrast that to the French Canadian term, dossier de santé électronique, which essentially means “electronic health record.”

Say what you want about the French—and many Americans do—but they may actually be on to something here. (And keep in mind not only that France’s new president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy is an Americophile, but that Americans apparently think more highly of the French than the French think of themselves.)

Yeah, so I’m going out of my way to practice the only foreign language I ever studied. Admit it, you still liked this post. And if someone wants to fly me to Paris to check up on my reporting, I’ll meet you at the airport in an hour.