Sure, it may sound a little far-fetched now; but the fact is many challenges that once prevented the concept of a PHR (Portable Health Record) from becoming a mainstream reality are gradually being overcome. In addition, as technology evolves, there are other social, political, and economic factors aligning to create the perfect storm for the PHR and its broad adoption. Among them is the growing expectation of open government, transparency, and individual empowerment and accountability. As a society, we are gradually growing comfortable with the idea of playing a more active role in the management of our health, which includes having more meaningful interactions with providers. A recent survey from The Markle Foundation reveals that 70 percent of the American public agrees with the concept of personal accessibility and ownership of PHRs.
However, not everyone sees this scenario playing out through rose-colored glasses. CIOs and healthcare managers who support today’s closed EMR (Electronic Medical Record) systems share valid concerns about maintaining the integrity and auditability of PHR health data after it leaves the confines of the controlled enterprise. The public agrees; the Markle Foundation survey shows that an overwhelming 80 percent of respondents, as well as healthcare providers, cite privacy safeguards as an important requirement for federally funded Health IT initiatives. The role of ubiquitous file-level security has surely never been more valuable in Health IT than it is today.
Recently, I participated in a government panel discussion with thought leaders from Cisco and Fortify. We touched on a host of relevant topics, but clearly the recurring theme was maintaining the balance of security and interoperability throughout the customer experience as ownership of health data evolves to include the patient himself.