Despite the presence of more than several hundred vendors of PHR products and also equal number of PHR products in the market today,there is no common standard in all of these products.This has created a significant barrier for widespread adoption of PHR products.Also without any common standard,PHR end up as islands of information.Compatibility with other PHRs and also with hospital based EMR system would enhance the benefits of Personal Health Record.
Now HL-7,a not-for-profit, ANSI accredited standards development organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services has come out with an initial draft forPHR standards,this will be implemented by 2008.
HL7’s PHR-S FM may be the first industry standard to specify functionality for PHR systems.
The draft could be found here by entering the term “PHR” on title bar of search.
What are the implications of HL-7 PHR-S FM for PHR vendors?
1.There will be common standardization of Personal Health Record products.
2.Compatibility between PHRs and EMRs will be improved.
3.”Interoperability” of PHR products which would enable Contunity of Care.
4.Enable easy population of data.
All these could come at a price,in that the cost of PHR products may raise significantly as conforming to these standards would escalate the cost of development of any new PHR product.
But for widespread adoption of PHR.education of consumers is the key step.
As it is one thing to develop a PHR and sell it to consumers but another to another to know when and how to use it.Health Consumers may be smart now,but they should also be aware of how to get maximum benefit out of Personal health record product.