Digital personal health records (PHR) represent an important shift away from conventional electronic health records, offering patients and healthcare workers the opportunity for more predictive, personalized, participatory, ubiquitous and interconnected treatment. However, the closure of one major provider in this realm sponsored by Google until 2012, left something of a void and perhaps stymied innovation from third-party providers and the integration of the digital health systems with other systems including mobile networks.
Writing in the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, Professor of Management Fernando Mora of the MBA Program in Multi-Sector Health Management at St. George’s University, in Grenada, West Indies, has reviewed the state of the art and suggests that five issues must be addressed to make digital personal health records more useful:
- More personalization and contextualization in the navigation of personal health records (PHRs).
- Extensive use of mobile devices to access PHRs.
- Incorporation of PHRs into innovative but also proven healthcare delivery models. For example, PHRs haven shown promise within an ecosystem for remote follow up of chronic disease management.
- A trusted relationship between users, technology developers, healthcare providers and governmental regulatory bodies.
- More evidence about the benefits of the use of these technologies in the improvement of the quality of life of the users, increased accessibility to their own care, and the improvement of healthcare quality at lower costs.
One of the advantages of the Google Health initiative, as with Microsoft HealthVault, was that the technology was enabled by a third party rather than a player within the healthcare domain. This allowed wide adoption based on sponsor popularity and without any restrictions being applied to users and healthcare providers. This led researchers, including Mora, to observe in detail of some of the peculiarities of the PHR’s market and how they might fit into cultural, societal and governmental models in the future, assuming new sponsors for such systems emerge sooner rather than later.
“The demise of Google Health and the future of personal health records” in Int. J. Healthcare Technology and Management, 2013, 5, 363-377
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