Gephardt jumps on the PHR bandwagon

Personal health records firm MMR Information Systems and its MyMedicalRecords subsidiary have enlisted Former House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt to spread the word about PHRs to the public, and, more importantly, help the company get its hands on some of the economic stimulus money. According to a news release, Gephardt will join MMR at the HIMSS conference in Chicago on April 5.

The former Missouri congressman has been on the board of Los Angeles-based MMR since 2007, so maybe it’s going too far to call it bandwagon jumping. But he’s not the first ex-House heavyweight to get behind a PHR effort. As I reported exactly one year ago today, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) became a strategic advisor to the Goeken Group, the Naperville, Ill.-based parent company of PHR vendor Global Med-Net.

To be honest, I haven’t hear a peep about the Hastert-Goeken effort since I wrote that story, but I also haven’t seen much progress in real PHR acceptance by the public in the last year. It’s going to take someone more charismatic and influential than Gephardt to sell the American people on the idea of keeping their own medical records electronically. And no, I don’t mean influential like knowing people on Capitol Hill, which Gephardt certainly does. I mean someone who can have a real influence on consumer behavior. That person most certainly will not be a politician.