Recent consensus sets stage for further progress with universal patient health records (PHRs)
Efforts to advance use of a universal electronic patient health record (PHR) got a boost recently. The creation of a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) moved closer to reality with announcement of consensus among more than 100 stakeholders on guidelines for ensuring consumer-friendly features, operational efficiencies, privacy, and security.
Connecting for Health, a public-private collaboration of health sector organizations and technology innovators, developed a common framework for building a network of networks. The framework provides specific technology, practice and policy approaches for consumers to securely obtain copies of their personal health records (PHRs) from various provider sources that support an online PHR service. Once stored on services like GoogleHealth or Healthvault, PHRs can be instantly shared with trusted health providers.
Meet the concept of the medical home. It is a managed-care delivery model that charges physicians with coordinating overall care for patients with chronic illnesses. Since its’ inception just a few years ago, it has spread nationwide. Medical home demonstration projects now operate in 22 states. Two states, Rhode Island and North Dakota, have implemented statewide programs.
By design, the medical home is a patient-centered, integrated care model. An important goal is to create a strong, long-term relationship between the physician and the patient. It does this by replacing episodic care based on illness with proactive, coordinated care provided by a physician-led team.
In 2008, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) introduced standards to determine if a medical practice operates as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). These standards meet the definition of a medical home as defined by a consortium that includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Osteopathic Association.