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4/20/2012
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A Fresh Approach To Personal Health Records

Personal health records have their problems, but programs like Passport To Trust are addressing them with some genuine innovations.

Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The ability to manage and share health information with multiple practitioners will finally be put in the hands of the patient, thanks to a joint initiative between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and NexJ Systems, Inc.

Developed by Steven Freedman, M.D., and Camilia Martin, M.D., M.S., at BIDMC in Boston, the Passport to Trust Program structures the doctor-patient office visit to create a step-wise roadmap to health. In collaboration with Toronto-based NexJ's Connected Wellness Platform, a secure, cloud-based patient-centric system, patients will be able to manage their health in concert with their physician and share it with their personally controlled network of caregivers, coaches, advocates, allies, and family members. This can be accomplished via a secure Website or a mobile device.

According to Eric Gombrich, senior vice president and general manager for health solutions at NexJ Systems, Passport to Trust will allow a caregiver to specifically define a personalized roadmap or blueprint for an individual patient with a particular condition.

"It will allow the patient not only to refer to the passport, but when the patient goes to the next physician or next caregiver in the process, to share that information with them so that they have the efficiencies of knowing what was done previously and what the expectations were," Gombrich said. BIDMC expects to go live with the initiative in the third quarter of 2012.

[ Which medical apps are doctors and patients turning to? See 9 Mobile Health Apps Worth A Closer Look. ]

Freedman, who led the development of the Passport To Trust program, said that the goal is to create a real partnership between the patient and the provider as well as a care plan. "Patients need to have a care plan that details what are the steps, what are you going to do every week … So we wanted to create a digital care plan that patients as well as providers can interact with over the net in a secure way."

Camilia Martin, M.D., a member of the Passport to Trust team, told Information Week Healthcare that among the program's strengths is the fact that it structures the patient-physician interaction during the office visit, maximizing the time allotted to develop an individualized care plan that outlines action items for both the patient and physician.

According to Wes Rishel, a VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner Heathcare Group in Stamford, Ct., the reason PHRs have not been successful is because it's been nearly impossible to get providers to push data to the PHR, and what patients want most is not a repository of their data but rather the ability to have more electronic interactions with their clinicians.

"Consumers are increasingly comfortable banking, shopping, and booking travel [electronically], at the time of day that works for them--why can't they do the same for healthcare?" Rishel said.

Rishel asserted that BIDMC has the technical smarts to work with a new product, as well as the organizational clout to encourage participation of other health delivery organizations (HDOs) in its region. "If it is successful in achieving data sharing, and orchestrating multiple HDOs as they interact with the patient, this will be a breakthrough."

The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)

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