Though doctors and nurses continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, online resources are becoming the new option for many in the US. Nearly 60% of adults research specific health topics, such as disease treatment and over 25% read online medical commentary from blogs, websites or medical groups.
So, the question is why do consumers not have a Personal Health Record (PHR)?
In today’s technological age it is difficult to believe that we discuss our most private issues on social media, but we do not keep any of our personal health information on a personal health portal. We bank online, we shop online and we even buy our airline tickets online (or we’ll get hit with a fee). However, as healthcare consumers we do not have nor are we demanding that our own personal health information be available to us online.
I’m starting a personal health care revolution now! I’ve begun to store all of my health information on the magical “cloud”. I started with my paper laboratory results for the last 10 years, which I scanned to my Personal Health Vault database. I keep all of my children’s health records on this “cloud” as well.
Will this help anyone if we get sick or hit by car? Most likely not. My PHR is protected and accessed to only those I give permission to. But this isn’t how it should be! PHRs need to be easily accessible, where consumers can share their most private medical data with the physicians and clinicians they trust or need to trust in a time of need.
Will my personal health care revolution cause the tipping point in PHRs? Of course not. Only the consumer can create the tipping point. Consumers must demand to have this information given in an easy, readable and portable manner.
I guess in all of this I wonder, why Health Insurance companies (if you are insured,) that have the data needed to create a PHR are not sharing it with the consumer? With the consumer health data they receive from providers, insurers could create a PHR at very little cost, but with an extremely high value to society. Creating a PHR is not hard. Having a PHR that provides value to the consumer and provider is. One day I believe we will have a PHR, but once we have it will anyone know what to do with it?