Report: HIE-sponsored PHRs offer 'one-stop shopping'

Health information exchanges (HIEs) may wish to consider offering personal health records (PHRs) as part of their array of services, according to a report recently unveiled by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Many current PHRs are tethered to EHRs and portals in a single provider organization, which invariably means that the PHR is incomplete. There has been a growing interest in HIE-sponsored PHRs because of their potential to provide greater interoperability, depth of information and data integration. They make it easier for a patient to use a PHR, which may increase patient engagement and simplify a provider's ability to meet the patient engagement Meaningful Use compliance requirements. 

However, HIEs must consider particular issues before forging ahead, such as their particular environment and the desired functionalities for a PHR.  HIEs also need to address barriers, such as patient authentication, workflow problems, privacy and security concerns and technical issues.

The report, released Nov. 21, was submitted to ONC by Venesco, the contractor that facilitated and supported the HIEs and Personal Health Records Community of Practice (CoP), which was created in March by the agency to increase consumer engagement in healthcare. It includes the 13 HIE member organizations that have established an HIE-sponsored PHR, or are in the process of doing so. It provides best practices and guidance for other HIEs, which may want to add this type of product as part of their portfolio of services.

Some of the strategies suggested for the design and implementation of an HIE-sponsored PHR included the formation of the PHR, procurement, and regulatory requirements. The report also suggests that the PHR be phased in over time.

"The more often consumers access their health information online, the more they report that it motivates them to do something to improve their health," the report says. "In addition, there are clear advantages of the 'one-stop shopping' approach that HIE-sponsored PHRs represent for patients, providers, payers, and other stakeholders."

HIEs, while still of relatively recent vintage, have shown that they can provide more effective health care and offer efficiencies. They also have evolved into vehicles to improve healthcare delivery, offering care coordination, interstate data sharing and admission, discharge and transfer alerts.

To learn more:
- here's the report (.pdf)