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« Collaboration amongst Physicians and other Provider Groups | Main | Why do EMR Implementations Fail? »


Alan Brookstone

As a further development regarding the use of Personal Health Records, the following article was published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Privacy is definitely becoming an issue in the US setting.

Companies may claim to respect your privacy. For example, a personal health records site may sell marketers the ability to advertise to diabetics, and you may be one of them. When you go to your personal record, you will see ads, discount coupons and articles targeted to diabetics. The marketers who pay for them will not know your name -- or they won't until you make a common mistake. To obtain your identity, advertisers will try to entice you to click onto their Web sites. Once there, your personal information may end up anywhere. One click can result in an irretrievable revelation of your medical status to another company that profits by reselling personal data.

Physicians may not be able to compete with the barrage of highly-tailored advertising "advice." Advertising messages are likely to be more frequent and more personalized than instructions from professional caregivers. Consumers are on the Web every day, but they see their health professional infrequently. The limited face time between physician and patient may not allow the physician much of an opportunity to counteract the tailored ads and articles written to promote particular products. Objective medical advice may be overwhelmed by pure marketing.

Link: The negative side to Personal Health Records.

David Chan

The scenario painted in this article applies not only to personal health records systems (PHR), but also to any centralized data repository (ASP based EMR, pharmanet, pathnet etc..). That's why there is a real distinction between a PHR which is controlled and owned by patients themselves and one which is essentially a portal view of EMR data owned by a provider or government agency. In terms of cost of implentation, the Open Source approach, and the distributive nature of the (PHR) database should have an ecological advantage over the proprietary and profit driven systems.

The point of all this is the central question: is PHR good for our patients' health? If the answer is YES then we should do it, and we should do it with the most cost-effective solution.


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