Halamka Demos CCD as Path Forward for PHRs

John Halamka, the CIO of Boston based Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and Chairperson of standards organization HITSP is a daring soul, having had an RFID implanted into his upper arm to validate the technology and most recently provides an interesting example of two formats for displaying his medical records.

Why is he doing this?

As a healthcare CIO, Halamka is intimately familiar with the challenges of data exchange, primarily within the confines of a hospital or IDN.  But Halamka also foresees a future where the patient will become the custodian of their health records.  In this future, patient-controlled health record paradigm data exchange will be infinitely more challenging.  In providing these two examples, Halamka attempts to show a future model that will alleviate the data exchange conundrum.

In the first, he uses PDF and ends up with a huge, 77 page file that would be daunting for even the most conscientious doctor to wade through. In the second example, he uses the CCD standard, which provides a concise overview of his medical record in a common Web-based document format with embedded hyper-links.

While Halamka uses this demonstration as an example of why standards such as CCD need to be adopted making the argument in his post. But when I look at the two examples, I find the CCD easily readable but sorely lacking in information. The PDF on the other hand, while lrage is quite comprehensive and one can easily search on terms in the PDF to find relevant information, e.g., what actually happened when Halamka contracted Lyme’s disease.

Now I am certainly no physician and have never claimed such but if I were a physician and I did have a choice, I’d take the PDF over the CCD as my propensity is to err on the side of safety. The CCD, at least in this example, simply does not provide sufficient information to provide quality care.

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