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Personal Health Records Up for Discussion Again Where the Value Lies, Sorting Out Some Steroid Advertising and Potential Data Se

Posted Jun 09 2013 7:25pm

Here we go with another version of what I said back in April of 2012 but it is true that you could save your own life one day with a PHR.  My PHR is far from being perfect and connected to everything but it has the basic important facts and I have imported a bit from a few other areas. Again, I recommend the “non tethered” PHRs like HealthVault and MyMedicalRecords and NoMoreClipboard Personal Account   for privacy reasons for sure.  There are good systems though in use by companies like Kaiser Permanente though that are great to use since they are all tied together with care, hospitals and insurance and the clinical data is done for you

Systems like those used with Epic records at Kaiser are good and are not like the ones from insurers who are looking for share holder dividends. Kaiser is a non profit so the incentive for extensive 3rd party use to whittle down claims, etc. is not there as they have already modeled a lot of that into their every day business practices in healthcare.  The same can’t be said for other companies as they mine and they mine and they mine…and analyze.  If you look at the want ads insurers of late seem to have close to standing ads for data miners right and left.

Personal Health Records Come In Many Flavors Today and Are Worth Having–Even If It Is Not Complete and Perfect

This article mentions Aetna and their PHR, and if they want to provide you information for your PHR, create a log on and then take the data and run and import it into a non tethered PHR.  There’s no way with all the data mining and strange analytics going on with insurers and no guarantee they will use their data in context, so again if there’s data to be had there, take it and run and other than maybe referencing a payment, leave it alone and don’t add to it. I would do the same with a PHR from Walgreens as an example too, take the data and run.  The company with selling data (not PHR data but prescriptions and purchases) pockets about a billions every year selling data and I’m tired of their stealth advertising as well as what they see as value is a nuisance to me.  Here’s a good example of insurers who are buying Master Card and Visa records to mine the data and see what size clothes you are buying. 

Insurance Companies Are Buying Up Consumer Spending Data-Time is Here to License and Tax the Data Sellers-As Insurers Sell Tons of Data, Gets Flawed Data When Data Buyers Uses Out of Context Too

With a non tethered system, you have the control of what get’s shared with who. Some of the data tracking that goes on wants to see if you are buying junk food as another example. Darn it, if I want to occasionally indulge in a Hersey chocolate bar I certainly don’t’ want the “data mining police” at my door or sending me a text message telling me I’m a naughty girl, and with the NSA news we are hearing, we all worry about data being used out of context.  That capability is there when you combine drug store purchases, etc. in the mix. 

Health Insurers and Others Trying to Track Junk Food Consumers Purchase–Attack of the Killer Algorithms for Corporate Profits

Nice kudos to Sean Nolan for his comment here at the end of the article as well, acknowledging there’s some bad actors out there and to watch out for them.  You know if you work with computer code and engineer data today, you have tell consumers this, as I do it all the time.  Again a PHR is really a good thing and this blog probably has the most blog post rich number of any site on the web since I have been covering PHRs since they began.  Again the hospital systems and Healthcare companies like Kaiser do a good job with their PHR as it’s clinical data and not payer influenced so for care and privacy that is good and most of them make their information available to put into a non tethered system. 

Any more too you have to look at the devices that report data as well if you want privacy and sometimes I wonder about the consumer mobile health imagedevices and their business models, in other words if they didn’t sell data would they be able to stay in business by just selling the device and app?  Check on how those connect to your PHR as well .  I like those that don’t as me thinks they might be around a while longer than the data selling profiteering folks.  One more item to note and a good reason for a non tethered PHR is that you again control where it gets shared and with all the privacy talk today be sure and look here to see this example on how data can and does get re-matched and if that doesn’t scare you away from using a PHR from an insurer, I don’t know what would (grin).  

This is a cool device that has the consumer at mind and heart and I hope they make their funding as it would be a cool device to connect to a non tethered PHR if you wanted that option. 

Scanadu Tricoder Scout–One mHealth Device Not Selling Data For Profit Goes To Crowdfunding, Will the FDA Consider Privacy in Their Mobile Device Approval System

One last reminder if you are a Vet or Medicare participant, get your data into your PHR now…it’s free and private.  BD

Medicare.Gov Blue Button Download For Personal Health Record Information for Those Covered by Medicare


Personal health records (PHR) come in many forms and consumers should find a method that works best for them. Wolter, for example, writes down the information she receives when visiting doctors and stores it in a binder. There are also websites that allow patients to input their medical information and access it via the cloud or save it to their computer for easy reference. Tethered PHRs are personal records that are stored at one medical provider, and connected PHRs are those provided by third parties that automatically connect to multiple health-care providers.

Some insurance companies are offering personal health records with their health insurance plans.  According to Dan Greden, head of eHealth and innovation at Aetna (NYSEAET), the insurer is seeing the adoption rate of personal health records grow about 25% each year. He says the tool is its most popular, and automatically populates with information from when a patient uses his or her health insurance.

“A collected PHR may collect data from the laboratory systems, pharmacies, hospitals, doctors, home monitoring devices and personal observations,” says Sean Nolan, distinguished engineer for Microsoft HealthVault.

“I believe that the potential benefits of keeping a PHR far outweigh the privacy risks --- but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bad actors out there,” says Nolan. “As with anything else online, it’s important to pick a service you trust after doing thorough research so you know what you’re getting into.”

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