Medicare's Updates Pilot Personal Health Record Program – Medicare PHR Choice
Posted Jan 06 2010 8:19am
The service is free for any “regular” Medicare participants and lists the same PHR choices that have been announced in the past and applies to Arizona and Utah, again the same as previously announced. The original pilot program was created in November 2008.
Now it appears this is an official publication and the brochure can be found here. Maybe it is just me thinking out loud here, but folks are not rushing to create their own PHR for a couple of reasons, education and security are still the 2 big concerns.
In essence, it’s the same old story, more information on the web that folks either don’t read, don’t have time to read, or don’t understand with nobody from CMS talking about their use of the program. That’s what it takes to move things along is hearing it from the horse’s mouth from someone who is benefiting. There is a story of a person using the PHR below, but it’s quoted and not really personal in my opinion. I still go into doctor’s offices and talk with staff and MDs that have no clue what a PHR is. This is a good step forward but once again we keep missing the target with education. BD
Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) January 6, 2010 -- A new service from Medicare called Personal Health Records (PHR) can help people say on top of their medical history. The benefits of an online Personal Health Record (PHR) can help fulfill New Year's resolutions to live healthier in 2010. A Web-based PHR keeps medical information at one's fingertips, reduces paperwork and helps doctors provide the proper care for their patients. Most people see more than one doctor and fill more than one prescription. They are treated in a doctor's office, outpatient facility or at a clinic - often for a single episode of care. Doctors may only treat patients for one condition and not know what other doctors have advised regarding their health. Remembering all the facts to share with doctors can be confusing and difficult for patients as well.
A PHR can help provide doctors with a complete picture of their patients' health and the information required to give them the best care. It may lessen duplicate tests and medical errors. This is why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offer Medicare PHR Choice, a free service for people with Original Medicare living in Arizona and Utah.
Betty Gilliam, 76, a retired Phoenix office manager and AARP volunteer, is a whole-hearted advocate for Medicare PHR Choice. "I was never concerned about giving medical information to any doctor or hospital because my husband, John, had a terrific memory for details," she said. This wishful thinking abruptly changed one evening when Gilliam took her husband to the Emergency Room.
"The nurse administered a shot and left the room. John's hands went up in the air, his eyes rolled around his head and he lost consciousness; he'd had a reaction to the shot. It was frightening! Even more frightening was after he was admitted to a hospital room, the nurses started asking questions I could not answer." Immediately after John's release, the couple sat down and recorded their medical histories, not only for their benefit, but for their children's as well.
"Imagine the consequences if we had been in an accident and neither of us could speak," Gilliam said. "That's why I enrolled in Medicare's PHR Choice program. I believe every family and single person should have a personal health record on file. No one can enter your record without your permission to use your password. The information can be accessed in your doctor's office or on one of their computers."
Medicare PHR Choice is a safe and confidential way to store and track health history and other important medical information in one place. Once enrolled in the program and Medicare data has been requested, up to two years of prior Medicare claims are added into the PHR with automatic updates occurring as new claims are processed.
By logging-in to a PHR account, individuals can fill in diagnoses, medications, test results, doctor visits - any important health-related information. By printing information from the PHR, a more complete picture of health can be provided when visiting the doctor and duplicate tests can be avoided. With a PHR, one can choose whether to share access to a PHR account with doctors, family, or other caregivers to help coordinate health care and have vital information available in case of emergency.
Alison Hughes, 69, lectures on health policy at the University of Arizona and selected a PHR provider from the four participating vendors available through Medicare PHR Choice. Using the many research features available from her PHR, Hughes discovered what she needed to know about her cataract condition. "My electronic patient health record is fantastic," she said.
"My primary care doctor gave me information from my medical record on shots, tests and other procedures I've had over the years, and I entered this information into my PHR." Hughes was also able to document all the clinical detail regarding her cataract surgeries into her PHR, as well as related medications and follow-up procedures. "Now I can download the information for future doctor's visits and for my family."
Medicare PHR Choice is available at no charge to people with Original Fee-for-Service Medicare who are primary residents of Utah and Arizona. For more information on this Medicare pilot, visit www.Medicare.gov/phr.
About Medicare PHR Choice Since January 2009, Medicare has offered individuals the ability to have their health information safely stored in one place and accessed through the Internet. Doctors can view a PHR online; individuals can print a hard copy report with a summary of their health history and medicines and take it with them to an appointment; and personal health information, such as medications, allergies, contact information for doctors and dentists, and information about family health history can be updated regularly. A PHR is a confidential and easy-to-use tool for managing information about one's health.