There’s a whole lot of rubbish talked by various MDs quoted in an article in Modern Physician called PHR liability, data overload making docs a little queasy. Essentially they’re all saying that they’re gong to be overrun by patients with printouts of their PHRs and because they’ll miss something on page 97 they’ll get sued. And one MD in particular Joseph Heyman (with whom THCB has had its run-ins before) is quoted as saying
there is a risk of ‘garbage in, garbage out,’ and if the record is populated by the patient, there are errors of understanding that can be inputted by the patient.”
It’s just the same as saying that if you give patients email access they’ll abuse it. Lots of doctors talked about that in the past. Several studies have shown it’s not true. You have to truck through a lot of rubbish in the article to get to someone who knows what he’s talking about. Luckily dog-owning Medem CEO Ed Fotsch does, and it’s worth reading:
Edward Fotsch, M.D., CEO of PHR-provider Medem, says that was something he rarely experienced during his years as an emergency medicine physician, ending in the early ’90s. “I saw 10,000 ER patients, and I can remember on one hand the number of patients who had any documented information when they came in,” he says. Fotsch says much of the confusion surrounding PHRs stems from a misunderstanding of what they are.“A disk with a mishmash of information is not a PHR, because I could call my dog a ‘Ferrari’ if I wanted to, but that doesn’t make him one,” Fotsch says. “A personal health record is, by definition, an online collection of structured data.” <SNIP>While agreeing that standards are needed, the AAFP’s Waldren disagrees that PHRs need to be Web-based. Although he thinks that Web-based models will eventually dominate the field, Waldren says there are desktop PHRs available “that are networkable.” But Fotsch wonders if the models mentioned by Waldren allow secured online communication between physicians and patients. Without that, Fotsch says a PHR is like an automated teller machine with no money in it that only allows you to check your balance. Fotsch says a PHR should resemble a continuity-of-care record or continuity-of-care document—two vetted and accepted formats for transmitting basic patient-care data. The PHRs should have defined fields where particular types of data should be entered and displayed, and they also should feature a secure e-mail connection between patient and physician. “There’s a structure around a personal health record,” Fotsch says. “So, if you say you accept a personal health record, you know what you’re accepting.”
So a structured useful PHR should be a good thing for doctors. And surprise surprise that’s what patients want to. So can we have a little less kvetching about this wave that‘s coming and a little more helping patients get these things?