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PHRs Need to be More than Data Stores

by John Moore | September 12, 2008

There are seemingly countless PHRs in the market with an extremely wide range of capabilities. However, even in the PHR market, the 80/20 rule applies.

In this case, 80% of the PHRs are simply data repositories, a place where the consumer enters the usual information such as demographic profile, meds, allergies, immunizations, insurer, etc. into various templates. Beyond this basic data entry/repository, there is almost always some syndicated content to tap into and maybe a couple of tools such as a BMI calculator or a health risk assessment (HRA).  That’s about it.

Then there are the other 20% of PHR vendors who are pushing the envelop.  Some, like NoMoreClipboard are leveraging their interoperability expertise to facilitate and automate the task of populating a PHR with clinical data from the physician’s EMR.  Or MediKeeper who is following a highly modular, best-of-breed partnering strategy to build out its platform or someone like PDHI that is leveraging its tightly integrated analytics engine for wellness and care management.  But the one area that is critical and has only seen limited attention is having the PHR  automatically mine PHR data to create actionable alerts.

Arguably, the leader here has been ActiveHealth Management which is now owned by Aetna.  ActiveHealth was originally a disease management and clinical decision support offering.  Recently, they leveraged that platform into a PHR that can search a member’s claims data and provide actionable alerts based on that data.  An alert could be notifying a member that it is time for their annual mammogram or oh joy, if they just turned 50, they may want to schedule that colonoscopy.

Last week, another PHR vendor, CapMed, announced a similar capability.  The press release, albeit brief, talks about the new “Smart Messaging” capabilities that CapMed has now embedded in their solution.  I had a chance to talk to CapMed GM, Wendy Angst who provided the following details:

  • Smart Messaging is a new optional add-on module to the core CapMed PHR. Pricing depends on capabilities desired (three price points).
  • Solution relies on three different partners (thus the three price points) for data analysis, rules engine and subsequent alerting to the consumer/PHR owner.
    • One partner specializes in claims data analysis, the other two can look at all data within the PHR to drive the alerting process. Of these second two, one partner offers much more advanced analysis and reporting features than the other, albeit at a higher cost.
  • Alerts can range from its time for a prescription refill to notices on clinical trials that may be of interest, to medication warnings/announcements and reminders for follow-on care/compliance.
  • Consumer can chose a variety alerting modalities, e.g., display on PHR upon log-in, email, or SMS. The user can also elect to have others (care team, physician, etc.) contacted as well based on alert type/necessity.
  • Smart Messaging can leverage other CapMed add-on modules such as disease management.
  • CapMed did not develop this for a specific customer, they simply saw the need and did it.

Though I have yet to get an actual demo of the solution (hope to in near future), and of course, they do not have a client to talk to yet that has deployed the solution, I really like what I heard.  CapMed saw a need, acted on it and didn’t wait for a customer to request it (the latter all to common among small software developers).

This ability to turn data into action is exactly where this market needs to go (along with auto-populating PHRs with data). One can expect other PHR vendors to quickly follow the lead (quite sure a few already are in the process of developing such capabilities or have it on their drawing boards) of ActiveHealth and now CapMed.

2 responses to “PHRs Need to be More than Data Stores”

  1. […] agree more. As I wrote recently when profiling the new CapMed notification feature. Static PHRs are dead in the […]

  2. […] agree more. As I wrote recently when profiling the new CapMed notification feature. Static PHRs are dead in the […]

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