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With the advent of the internet, including emails and other web-based technologies, patients nowadays have assumed a much more active role in managing their health care. An evolving concept that makes a great potential to improve the health of individuals and efficiency of health care is the use of Personal Health Records (PHR). The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Medical Information Association (AMIA) continue to advocate for the use of PHR, empowering individuals to engage in a much more active role of managing their health care. According to AHIMA (2005), the PHR is “an electronic, lifelong resource of health information needed by individuals to make health decisions. The individuals manage and own the information in the PHR, which comes from health care providers and the individuals. The PHR is maintained in a secure and private environment with the individuals determining the right of access”. As the chief technology officer of an academic medical center in the western United States, planning to adopt and integrate a PHR software in its existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, the purpose of this paper is to outline my recommendation of the essential functionalities of a PHR that are to be considered for the organization.
Choosing a PHR that would fit the needs of the organization is not going to be an easy task. There are a number of PHR software in the market to choose from, so it is necessary to take precaution and compare the products and check out for reviews because the same as in the EHRs, once you purchased the system, you will be tied for it for a long time. The PHR software that is to be selected should be reliable, sophisticated and secure. Enumerated below are the functionalities of a PHR that I would like to be implemented first for the organization:
- Compatibility functionality. My chosen PHR should be compatible with the organization’s EHR system and with other third party tools. It should be able to directly interact with the organization’s EHR. This functionality is extremely important as it will enable the sharing of information of patients with their healthcare providers. Also, with the PHR connected to the organization’s EHR, patients can make their appointments online, consult their providers from their PHR, and obtain drug prescriptions without the hassle of visiting the doctor’s office. The many number of third party tools and mash-up services are also becoming available online to provide personalized health and wellness tools in which individual patients can use depending on their health needs. Examples of these third-party tools are the (a) Microsoft Healthvault (b) Training Peaks and (c) Google Health to name a few. The compatibility of the PHR with such mentioned web based applications enables patients to have access to a more personalized tool, thus letting them reap the most benefits from their PHRs.
- Must have the basic features, intuitive tool design, and ease of use functionality. Not all people are comfortable with the use technology, so needless to say, my chosen PHR should be easy to use. It must have the standard features which are (a) add (b) delete (c) correct and (d) share records. Patients should be able to add, delete, correct and track their medical history. The menu navigation should be intuitive and most used features should be quickly accessed. It must also have the ability to control and share health information with health providers and as well as family members with the consent of the patient.
- Security and control functionality. Security and protection of a patient health information is always a top concern in the field of healthcare industry to achieve the meaningful use of systems. My chosen PHR must have the security features to make sure health information is protected and secured all the time while still accessible from anywhere.
- Ability to automatically pull records from healthcare providers. My chosen PHR should enable patients to pull their historical information about their health problems, drug prescriptions, test procedures performed and as well as allergies. Having this feature would enable the patients to become more aware of their health care and as well as engage themselves in a much more active role of managing their health care.
- Proactive health monitoring functionality. My chosen PHR must have the advanced features to help patients take control of their health. Example of proactive health monitoring features are (a) weight loss, body mass index, and cholesterol monitoring (b) alerts when certain health conditions reach a certain threshold such as blood pressure and (c) a health planner services to help patients live a healthier and more productive life.
PHR Reviews (2009). How to choose a PHR- Personal health record system. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from http://www.phrreviews.com/how-to-choose-a-phr
Wager, K.A., Lee, F.W., Glaser, J.P. (2013). Healthcare information systems: A practical approach for health care management (3rd ed ). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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