Meaningful Use 2 and PHR (Patient Health Records) Part II

Benter AdedeStarred Page By Benter Adede, 11th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Public Health

Do you really know about the Patient Health records and how they are managed?


Patient Health Records (PHR) is a record kept by a patient about their health information. This can be updated by the patient and shared with their physicians. Health care gives can also update these records during the patient visits. Therefore, the record consists of the patient’s health data and information in relation to the care that they get from health care givers. The patient has the liberty to choose the contents of the PHR and further determine how the records are stored. They also have the ability to choose what information their physicians have access to. This greatly improves privacy and the patients are assured of their health information security. The main purpose of a PHR solution is to provide an accurate summary of a patient’s medical history which can be easily accessed. This is further demonstrated by the way the PHR solutions provides a single source for authentication and remote access of the health information data from all EMR systems. The information included in the PHR is immunisation, lab results, prescriptions, hospitalizations, medical tests, insurance information, etc.

PHR and EMR or EHR

Some PHR systems are incorporated into the Electronic Health Records or Electronic Medical Records such as,
• Patient Ally which is part of the Office Ally EMR (Electronic Medical Records) which is also an accredited EHNAC organization.
• Patient Fusion which is freely incorporated into the Practice Fusion Electronic Health Records.

Health care givers who use these systems therefore enjoy the added advantage of the inclusion of the PHR. This makes is easy for them to fulfil the meaningful use requirements. The health care givers who do not however use the above mentioned EMR system solutions need not worry. There are several PHR solutions that are offered online and for free. Most of these solutions have the interoperability feature which most EMR system solutions lack. For instance, Epic Lucy PHR which does not rely on the Epic platform in order to run and can be accessed online. Another example is the Microsoft HealthVault which can be used to access health information even in the absence of an EMR system.

Implementing Meaningful Use

Health care givers have no excuse therefore when it comes to implementing the meaningful use requirement of giving patients access to their health records upon request. There are however some obstacles with the PHR; in the section where patients can enter their own data into a free-standing personal health record. In theory, patients can add data into their PHR systems and dispatch it their physicians through a secure messaging function. In reality, patients do not use the PHR since they do not understand what it’s for. Most of them expect the doctors to keep track of their care for them.

All in all, it is important to note that the health care sector is undergoing a huge change in how health records are created and stored all around the world. Younger physicians have taken to smartphones and iPads simply because they grew up with the Internet. Most physicians and hospitals however, will change only because the regulations in the HITECH Act, which was part of ARRA and not “the Affordable Care Act”, which dictate that digital changeover is mandatory by the end of 2014. Patients on the other hand have been slow to adopt PHRs due to a lack of incentives. With just over 10 per cent of the population maintaining a PHR, that is, using a computer or Web site to maintain a personal health history. These records could be anything ranging from a spread sheet to a full-bore electronic record.

Meaningful Use Payouts

At the same time, portals also figure in meaningful use payouts. There are some 140 physicians strong, Worchester, Mass.-based Reliant Medical Group (formerly the Fallon Clinic), who have received nearly $2 million in incentive payments. As part of meaningful use, they gave patients access to their records, their test results and further allowed them to get electronic copies. They use Reliant's portal, which is part of its Epic EHR, patients are able to download a Continuity of Care Document (CCD) which summarizes the key clinical measures. This is how the Reliant has been able to meet that meaningful use requirement. Patients can see their data from the ambulatory setting At UPMC and inpatient alike, notes Martich, the CMIO. Its ambulatory system houses its portal, but any inpatient discharge summaries, ED reports, and operative reports are conveyed to the patient's individual HealthTrak account.

Further Reading

MEANINGFUL USE 2 and PHR (Patient Health Records) Part I

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