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PHRs that don’t have the cachet of Microsoft and Google

In case you were still of the opinion that Google and Microsoft were the major players and groundbreaking pioneers of personal health records, here’s a partial list of other companies that have been at it for at least as long. I believe CapMed goes back as far as 1991. Some have been bought by larger firms, but many are still independent.

Clip and save, or pass on to your favorite tech journalist that got snookered by the Google PR machine.

Access Strategies

CapMed

ActiveHealth Management

MEDecision

HealthCapable

MyMedLab

NoMoreClipboard.com

Carefx

Good Health Network

iPHER

MedicalDrive.com

MediKeeper

Applied Research Works

In any case, I remain unconvinced that the direct-to-consumer, “untethered” model—no connection to an electronic medical record unless the patient sets it up that way (and really, can any EMR today be configured like that anyway)—can grab more than a small subset of data geeks as customers.

July 18, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

More thoughts on ‘meaningful use’

I’m looking back over my notes from last month’s HIMSS conference and I came across something from MEDecision. The care management software company, now a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee Health Care Service Corp., is defining an electronic health record simply as an “actionable clinical summary.”

That makes sense, given that MEDecision in the past has pushed payer-based health records that were derived from claims and then run through a clinical verification engine of some sort to create clinical summaries. Just before HIMSS, MEDecision also announced a deal to acquire HxTechnologies, which specializes in aggregation of clinical data from lab and imaging systems.

At HIMSS, MEDecision President and COO Scott Storer also told me that because the company now can add real clinical information to the claims data it already processes, this will help providers achieve the type of “meaningful use” required to capture stimulus funding for health IT.

However, in the wake of the recent revelation that claims data can produce inaccurate clinical records, I’m wondering if this is changing this type of strategy. MEDecision is a partner of Google Health, which was blamed for the misinformation in Dave de Bronkart‘s personal health record.

And please, don’t get me started on the low adoption rates of PHRs in general. As you know, I tend to ignore any boasting that someone has a PHR that can revolutionize healthcare.

May 4, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

MEDecision buying HxTechnologies

Care management software company MEDecision is buying health information exchange specialist HxTechnologies for an undisclosed sum. Read the press release here.

April 2, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

David St. Clair on privacy

It’s a few weeks old and you may have seen it elsewhere, but I see no harm posting this commentary from David St. Clair, founder and CEO of care management software company MEDecision. You’ll note that the CNN video he references also appeared on my blog last month.

Consumers Need All of the Facts in the Privacy Debate

By David St.Clair

The economic stimulus package that President Obama has signed contains upwards of $20 billion to create electronic health records for most Americans within five years. The president has been very outspoken in his belief that EHRs are essential to health care reform and that the subsequent savings they’ll generate will help to strengthen the larger overall economy.

Whenever the subject of proliferating EHRs catches the national spotlight, you can bet that debates about privacy aren’t far behind. Indeed the privacy issue has already started to gain some traction in the media. In this video clip, CNN’s Campbell Brown and Elizabeth Cohen examine how easy it is for someone to obtain private medical information online by simply using someone’s Social Security number and date of birth.

While this assessment may be accurate, it’s a bit light on the fairness scale. Brown and Cohen only make a very brief mention of facts like President Obama’s plan to appoint a chief privacy officer and to implement unprecedented privacy controls to safeguard the EHR transformation. Instead they emphasize the more sensational angle implying that electronic health information just isn’t safe. They also seem to downplay the fact that a simple thing like creating a password can protect one’s private information.

I suspect the privacy issue is going to reach a crescendo in the coming months, and it’s very important that Americans have all of the facts. There are unfortunately people in the world who are going to try to illegally obtain and misuse private health information. But that doesn’t mean we should just write off EHRs as a bad idea. We simply need to be vigilant and proactive in incorporating the highest security measures into the planning process — which the president has done. To borrow an analogy from a close colleague: we don’t stop building roads because some people drive drunk. We punish the drunk drivers and continue building roads because of the tremendous benefits they bring to the rest of our law-abiding society. There is too much at stake for the health care system and the nation’s economy to allow over-dramatized and misperceived weaknesses in EHR security to thwart progress.

Additionally, to make the privacy debate a fair one we must ask what’s more dangerous: the potential misuse of information or simply not using information at all? Should we put the privacy of an overwhelming minority of people ahead of safer, more efficient, more affordable and potentially life-saving health care for the overwhelming majority? In reality, the only people who stand to be harmed by an unlikely EMR privacy breach are celebrities and other high profile individuals. Even if someone were to gain access to the average person’s health information, there isn’t much they could do with it, other than cause that person some personal embarrassment. In a very real sense, the question then becomes whether we value the privacy of information more than its potential to help us lead healthier lives.

Without question we must make ensuring privacy a top priority in any plans to implement EHRs. I’m confident that the Obama plan does so and, in fact, I think we’ll see even stronger controls than we may have previously imagined. No EHR is going to come with guaranteed safety, but I would argue that the risk level is the same or less than that associated with online retail and banking transactions. The public needs to understand this. It is up to those of us in the industry to ensure that the facts are clear and readily available. Hopefully the media will choose to report all of them so that Americans can form opinions based on complete information.

March 15, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

FierceHealthIT

Just a quick note: I’m the guest host, as it were, of FierceHealthIT this week. I wasn’t sure until it was too late if I was supposed to write a commentary, so I didn’t, but four of the top five story summaries this week carry my byline:

The one I didn’t write, “Top P4P hospitals to score $7m in bonuses from CMS,” ran in the daily FierceHealthcare last Thursday.

June 23, 2008 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.