One doc's take on why PHRs speed secure data exchange

Personal health records represent a faster, more patient-friendly method for health information exchange than actual HIE solutions, according to David Mendelson (pictured), a professor of radiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

Mendelson, speaking at the Information Management Network Hospital Cloud Forum in New York on April 16, said that PHRs are "less cumbersome … for exchanging health information," as they eliminate the need for multiple business association agreements while encouraging patient engagement, according to an article published this week by Health IT Security.

"You as the consumer are interested in controlling the flow of your data and expediting that flow when necessary," Mendelson said. "It actually eliminates a whole set of consent issues out there. Once you put the data into the PHR, you as the patient have the ability to distribute and control the distribution. You don't have to sign consent forms anymore, which just introduces a delay and a bureaucratic step."

Mendelson specifically talked about such exchange efforts with regard to image sharing, as he serves as a principal investigator for the Radiological Society of North America's Image Share project.

"[A]s much as I would like to believe that the HIE solution can work and will work, I still think if you have a significant illness, you'd like to have [your data] in your hands just to get it to the doctor you choose to see at any given moment in time," he said.

In a recent interview with FierceHealthIT, Laura McCrary, executive director of the Kansas Health Information Network, talked about her organization's plans for using PHRs to facilitate information exchange. McCrary said that KHIN is in the process of putting in a state-wide patient portal--a PHR that will connect to the health information exchange.

"Patients will be able to have their own information from the health information exchange and over time … we plan to allow patients to see who's accessed their information in their personal health record," she said.

Research published in February in the Journal of Medical Internet Research determined that PHR adoption by patients can be influenced by provider behavior.

To learn more:
- read the Health IT Security article

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