A very good eZine on all things mobile health, is mobihealthnews. Brian and his partner Joe have done an excellent job of following many of the developing trends in this sector and occasionally, will have a guest author a column. On Friday, one of the co-founders of the iPhone app, iTriage, Peter Hudson, wrote a column on Personal Health Records (PHRs) and mHealth. (FYI, iTriage is arguably, one of the more successful consumer-facing healthcare iPhone apps – they are actually making a living at it, more than we can say for most iPhone app developers). The article caught our attention instantly with this lead-off paragraph:
Personal health records (PHRs) represent a great opportunity for healthcare consumers to take control of their healthcare data and help deliver many meaningful solutions for managing their health. The problem with the current landscape of solutions is that data is not flowing quickly from healthcare systems into central repositories. When this data is available, it is not being delivered to the healthcare consumer in a meaningful way: It’s not easy-to-use, mobile, easily shared, or present with them when they need it.
While Chilmark applauds iTriage and Peter for continuing to extend the functionality of their platform to now address consumers’ mobile access to their PHR, in this case Google Health (Note: iTriage is also working to have similar connectivity to HealthVault), Peter has not addressed the real issue here, how do we, as a society, create the systems necessary that will allow a consumer to easily aggregate their health data to create a truly longitudinal record that they can securely tap via their iTriage app, or some other mechanism, regardless of location, when needed.
And therein lies the rub – those systems do not exist. We are dealing with point-to-point access, point-to-point data retrieval, a complicated, convoluted process that frankly most consumers will not bother with.
Ever the optimist, Chilmark firmly believes there may be a solution tucked within the billions that will be spent to digitize the healthcare sector: The Health Information Exchange (HIE).
In the second of this two part post, Chilmark will look more closely at the HIE market, vendors therein and their efforts, or lack thereof to provide consumer engagement tools that may ultimately allow consumers to create a longitudinal record of their health or the health of a loved one. Stay tuned.