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Hitting the PHR Conundrum on the Head

by John Moore | April 17, 2008

As many who read here know, one of the biggest challenges I’ve discussed regarding consumer adoption of PHRs is making these systems simple and automated.

Simple – as in the example of what Google has done to create a great, yet simple to use  interface.

Automated – to automatically populate a consumer’s PHR with pertinent health data, regardless of data source, be it pharmacy, doctor, hospital, lab, you name it.

While I do not mean to discount the fine work Google has done to create a simple intuitive user interface, honestly, this is not all that hard to do.

What is extremely hard and will remain a challenge for PHRs, the vendors who create them and subsequently consumers for the foreseeable future is getting that data into a PHR automatically, rather than having to do self-entry.  But how does one get their hands on that data?

Yes, there are issues with standards adoption and more broadly, healthcare IT adoption among providers.  But it is also an issue of control.  Whoever controls the data, controls the relationship.  Thus, many a healthcare stakeholder will be reluctant to fully release such data to the care of the consumer for their PHR, even though by right, it belongs to the consumer.

Like myself, Dana Blankenhorn over at ZDNet has been in the IT industry for a number of years and like me, not just healthcare.  Dana posted a great piece on the issue of data control this morning that is well worth the read for he really hits the nail on the head as to what the real issue is and the Teutonic struggles that lie ahead between all the various stakeholders that are fighting for the mind-share and ultimately control of the consumer relationship.

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