DoD Launches Personal Health Record Pilot

Falls Church, Va. - The Department of Defense (DoD) is pleased to announce the successful launch of MiCare, the Military Health System's prototype personal health record (PHR) at Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC) in Tacoma, Wa. MiCare is designed to help members of the military and their families more easily and effectively manage their health and wellness, regardless of their location and as they seek care inside and beyond the Military Health System. MiCare developed as a pilot project in partnership with Microsoft Corp. and Google. The project which began in March 2008, focused on incorporating the services and features offered by commercial vendors as a way to expedite the development and expand the capabilities of the military's PHR.

Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, praised the hard work and spirit of the partnership which made the development and launch of MiCare a success. He said, "I am a strong advocate for the adoption and use of PHRs. They allow patients to take more responsibility for their healthcare needs and make patients and providers interactive partners in the healthcare encounter. I believe MiCare will empower our beneficiaries and significantly enhance both the quality and continuity of healthcare we provide."

Both Microsoft® HealthVaultTM and Google HealthTM serve as protected patient-controlled repositories for health information that is needed to support PHR functions. Regardless which platform the beneficiary chooses, both provide a secure place to store, manage, and distribute their own personal health information.

Beneficiaries who choose to enroll in MiCare at MAMC will have access to their demographic information, active medication lists, their allergy data, lab results, radiology results, personal problem list, past visits, upcoming appointments and inpatient/outpatient documentation from AHLTA, the military electronic health record.

Using Microsoft HealthVault or Google Health, the beneficiary will also have the ability to store health records obtained from civilian providers, plans and pharmacies. Healthvault also allows uploading of data from health and fitness devices, such as pedometers, blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors and peak flow meters. The beneficiary can choose to share this data with healthcare providers and a wide range of health and wellness applications and services connected on the HealthVault or Google Health platform.

Beneficiaries' health information will be protected under the new "Connecting for Health" guidelines developed by the Markle Foundation with the aid of Microsoft, Google and other vendors to establish the standards for keeping sensitive information private. The beneficiary has complete control over who looks at the data and what information they see.

Both Microsoft and Google expressed enthusiasm about the project and indicated that they were pleased to be providing services which will benefit military families.

"Providing one location to store and manage health data can make a significant impact on military families on the move, for retirees seeking care, and for family health managers left behind as a parent is called to duty," said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Health Solutions Group. "We look forward to demonstrating the value of this pilot."

Likewise, Sameer Samat, Director of Product Management for Google Health said, "Google is pleased to be working on the MiCare pilot with the DoD. Helping military service members organize all their personal health information in one secure and central location will ultimately help them better coordinate their care as they move locations."

Plans for deployment of MiCare beyond the initial MAMC pilot location are under consideration and new features including secure provider/patient messaging and a provider portal will be considered for development and addition to subsequent versions.

Ultimately, MiCare will serve as a patient-centric health record, aggregating documentation and information from all sources of healthcare in a location accessible to the beneficiary and under their complete control.

The importance of the MiCare initiative was summed up by Mr. Charles Campbell, the Military Health System's chief information officer. He said, "Micare will not only meet the needs of our Service members and beneficiaries and improve the continuity of their care, it also supports the national goal to develop the foundation for secure, health information exchange between patients and providers."