The recent surge in activities around Personal Health Record business sector has been burgeoning.After the planned entry of Google Health by Google ,which was anticipated to change the health care system in North America,there was increased media speculation about Microsoft being left behind.But,Microsoft had their own plans with the entry of Microsoft Health Vault.There are numerous myths about the battle fought between Microsoft and Google on Health Sector.
Microsoft Health Vault is just a platform,it is a collection of different vendors selling PHR products.Microsoft offers a environment in which all these vendors of PHR products could be together.
What Google plans is going to keenly watched will it be similar to Google Social or Android-mobile phone application platform or just a stand alone Personal Health Record?
Google plans to launch an online health service that will include personal medical records, health-care-related search features, diet and exercise regimens, and a directory of physicians with links to Web sites.
Health is unique but also Universal, it is extremely complex and expensive.To create an ideal PHR business model is not going to be an easy task.People who use PHR,ie stakeholders ranging from patients to physicians to health officials in Government are all worried about one major issue and that is Privacy and security of the collected data.
Anita Allen, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on privacy law, says no matter what entity endorses personal online medical records, privacy issues will loom large. “Anyone’s health records should be regarded as personal and sensitive,” says Allen. “People need to be mindful of discrimination from employers and insurers.”
One issue with HealthVault and similar efforts is that they aren’t covered by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA, passed in 1996, created standards for electronic health care transactions and addressed security and privacy issues. Under HIPAA, a patient’s medical record and payment history can’t be linked to an individual by an unauthorized person. These rules apply to health plans, health care clearinghouses — such as billing services and information providers — and health care networks.
Although HIPAA covers the institutions installing EMR systems, Allen says that regulation wouldn’t cover entities like Microsoft, Google or any other web service that allows medical records to be stored online. “HIPAA doesn’t prevent you from uploading information and accepting terms of an agreement. Anything that happens to those records is routine and covered in courts under privacy law.”
The other questions which are pertinent to PHR world are
Populating the data-should it be by physicians or individuals?
How will the business vendors of PHR products generate revenues if they offer it for free?If paid ,Who will pay for the system?Patients or their employers or insurance.
How long will the health data be stored?How many years?
Meanwhile Wallstreet Journal along with Harris Interactive has just released another poll about Personal health records and their impact on American people.
The survey of 2,153 U.S. adults, conducted Nov. 12-14, shows three-quarters of respondents agree that patients could receive better care if doctors and researchers were able to share information more easily via electronic systems and 63% agree sharing of such records could decrease medical errors. Fifty-five percent agree this could reduce health-care costs, compared with 15% who disagree. However, about one-quarter of adults remain unsure whether electronic medical records can provide these benefits.
There still many more questions which need to be answered,before we can have a conclusive answer.Health care industry is a large ocean and PHR is just one subset of this ocean.
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