Despite the costs associated and the uncertain financial rewards for physicians, adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) is on the rise. For many practices, it seems the benefits of cheap information retrieval and the protection against audits outweighs the costs of an EHR. Plus, the monetary incentives of the HITECH act may just sweeten the pot enough for the those still sitting on the fence.
Many EHR implementations include patient portals and some even include full fledged patient health records (PHRs), yet thus far the extent of patient adoption of PHRs has not been as gratifying. The most successful PHRs thus far are those deployed by care providers, especially large ones like Kaiser and Mayo Clinic, which are tethered to the providers’ EHRs and thus are already pre-populated with a patient’s own records. Kaiser’s PHR, in particular, is a rich portal that is often held out as an example of the potential of PHRs.
But what about a simpler approach? Two iPhone apps, Capzule PHR and Gazelle aim to provide a way for patients to store their own health records, including medical conditions, vaccinations and physician contact information. The approach for both apps is fairly similar with screens organized by information type, options to store and display laboratory data, and options for sharing information.
Both apps have gained a significant amount of press recently, most notably Gazelle – due to the large company that made it. However, both apps have issues overcoming data silos preventing their full functionality.