Yesterday, I had the honor to present to Sec. Leavitt and the AHIC on trends and projections for personal health information. As I had only a brief 10 minutes to work with, I needed to put together a dense set of slides to hit the high points of what is happening in the PHR market. Below is the presentation.
Several others presented as well including Carol Diamond from the Markle Foundation, Jeffery Blair from the Lovelace Clinic, Sean Nolan from HealthVault, and Will Crawford from Dossia among others. The purpose of our collective presentations and following on Q&A were to educate those in attendance on where we are today regarding the ability of a consumer to manage their PHI and where we were headed in the future. Of course, being in front of so many policy makers, it also provided us an opportunity to provide policy guidance to encourage future adoption and use of PHI.
Surprisingly, Google Health did not send anyone, though I heard they were invited. Odd, Very odd.
Makes we wonder just how committed Google is to the health sector when they cannot find an individual to represent them at such an important event. Then again, maybe it is just a certain level of arrogance at Google wherein they decided that this administration is coming to a close and the future of what AHIC will become remains uncertain. Either way, a poor move on their part.
Back to the event.
I was quite impressed with the attentiveness Sec. Leavitt showed throughout this morning session. He took copious notes and asked several thoughtful and probing questions. Clearly, he takes this issue very seriously.
Unfortunately, I am not sure I can say the same about others who were present. Several questions and comments from AHIC members were clearly designed to derail any move towards personal control of health records. The usual Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) issues were raised such as the specter of privacy, the consumer at risk, the physician at risk, that PHI is not important for the advancement of health, etc. There are strong vested interests among those on the AHIC committee, thus not too surprising to see so little substantive action come out of the AHIC since its formation.
Key points & metrics:
- Privacy is on everyone’s mind when it comes to PHI, though many agree that all the consumer wants to know are answers to two basic questions:
Who will have access to my record?
What might the information in my record be used for?
- At Kaiser-Permanente consumers now simply expect their physician(s) to be digitally aware and connected. Adoption continues to accelerate and their members are increasingly engaging with their physicians over the Internet. Viewing lab results online is the most used feature of My Health Manager with 1.3M results viewed monthly.
- From Jan-June 2008, the VA’s HealtheVet PHR had 4.1M visits. HealtheVet now has over 600,000 active users.
- Reconciliation of multiple medical records from multiple providers for an individual to create a single, coherent, longitudinal record is proving quite challenging. This is not an easy task to automate.
There are many good people at HHS and on the AHIC that are working very hard to advance the quality of care. There were several at this meeting that are beginning to believe that the PHI market may indeed be moving far faster than the ability for government to respond, which honestly, may not be a bad thing. My biggest concern is that given time, government may actually do more harm than good in that given sufficient time they would put together confining prescriptive polices and regulations that would hinder innovation and follow-on adoption, rather than foster it. This led me to close my own comments during our session with the following:
What we need today are not prescriptive policies and definitions, but guidelines. When developing policies, think as though you are putting up guardrails to help guide adoption and use of HIT rather than laying down railroad tracks.
Hopefully, they were listening.