Been doing some exploratory research on the PHR (personal health record) market, looking at the various suppliers of such platforms, their offerings, method of delivery and all I can say is what a mess.
What’s the problem?
Here’s my short list:
Lack of consistency in what is offered, and more importantly, why? No clear descriptions as to why a consumer should take the time to fill out all of the information – what should they prioritize?
Too many PHRs are tethered thereby limiting a consumers ability to take the PHR with them should they change employers, insurers, healthcare providers, etc.
Lack of information/connections to healthcare providers to get one’s records into an untethered PHR – automatically. Virtually all of the solutions today want you to transcribe that information yourself.
Of the three above, the last is arguably the biggest one, which to some extent is related to the second issue listed.
Presently, a consumer has to spend far too much time filling out various forms/templates in a PHR, and that is just to get started. Have yet to find a PHR that can, today, automatically bring in your records from a healthcare provider, or claims information from your insurer. The only way that this is being done in some fashion is via tethered PHR systems, such as that offered by Aetna or patient portals that one can find at many of the more advanced and usually larger care providers such as hospitals.
This leads to the main problem for the nascent PHR market – both insurers and providers, and to a lesser extent employers want to control the consumer relationship. This puts them at odds in sharing information and subsequently populating a consumer’s PHR, by providing data to a competing system. This problem is only exacerbated when one looks at independent PHRs such as WebWD, RevolutionHealth, Cap-Med, HealthString, Medem, etc., where these independents are seen as an intermediary thus leaving insurers or providers one step removed from the consumer. Don’t see insurers or providers readily passing over consumer information to these independents without some serious potential return.
But maybe we can kill two birds with one stone.
A lot of money is being poured into RHIO and HIE initiatitives. While these are certainly noble efforts to date, most have or are failing. The most common reason why, lack of a self-sustaining business model. So I’ll throw this idea out there: Why not use the information that RHIO/HIE will have to allow a consumer’s PHR to be automatically populated for a small transaction fee similar to an ATM fee. It does not have to be onerous, it could be subsidized in some small part, it will allow for an RHIO/HIE to have an annuity stream and an untethered PHR will be able to provide an extremely important service to its customers.
Seems to make some sense to me, what do you think?