PHRs, por­tals both pop­u­lar and not so pop­u­lar

Modern Healthcare - - Special Feature -

Few health­care in­for­ma­tion sys­tems are plug-and-play. It takes time for health­care in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy leaders to plan for, bud­get, se­lect, buy and in­stall th­ese sys­tems, and for front-line staffers to adapt their work­flows to them.

With th­ese long glide paths in mind, Mod­ern Health­care asked read­ers to pro­vide a sta­tus re­port on their plan­ning, im­ple­men­ta­tion and use of var­i­ous IT sys­tems. The mean­ing­ful-use tar­gets un­der the fed­eral stim­u­lus law ap­pear to fig­ure into their time lines for a va­ri­ety of IT projects.

Re­spon­dents re­ported their pri­or­i­ties for each of 13 IT projects by plac­ing them in one of five cat­e­gories: planned but not started; im­ple­men­ta­tion to be­gin within 12 months; im­ple­men­ta­tion in progress; im­ple­mented and op­er­a­tional; and not con­tem­plated at this time. Some of the high­lights: Among IT sys­tems with im­ple­men­ta­tions in progress, work­flow au­to­ma­tion, clin­i­cal de­ci­sion sup­port at the point of care, and com­put­er­ized physi­cian or­der en­try led the pack.

For those to be im­ple­mented within 12 months, sur­vey par­tic­i­pants fa­vored adding sys­tems for com­put­er­ized clin­i­cal de­ci­sion sup­port, join­ing a re­gional health in­for­ma­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion or a health in­for­ma­tion ex­change and in­tro­duc­ing ex­pert qual­ity sys­tems.

Iron­i­cally, two Web-based, per­son­alhealth applications—per­sonal healthrecord, or PHR, sys­tems for pa­tients and Web-based pa­tient por­tals, both of which af­ford pa­tients ac­cess to their med­i­cal records—ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in two dif­fer­ent and op­po­site sur­vey cat­e­gories.

Both PHRs and pa­tient por­tals are ex­am­ples of sys­tems that are of­ten de­scribed as “Health 2.0,” the health­care de­riv­a­tive of the Web 2.0 coinage of IT pub­lisher Tim O’Reilly.

In the cat­e­gory of planned but not started, im­ple­ment­ing a PHR was the top pick (cho­sen by 39% of sur­vey re­spon­dents) and a pa­tient por­tal was the sec­ond pick (cho­sen by 32%).

At the same time, in the cat­e­gory of sys­tems that were not be­ing con­tem­plated at this time, PHRs ranked No. 1 (cho­sen by 26%) and pa­tient por­tals No. 2 (picked by 22%).

Dave Garets is pres­i­dent and CEO of HIMSS An­a­lyt­ics, the mar­ket re­search arm of the Health­care In­for­ma­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tems So­ci­ety. Garets says many of the top choices in the sur­vey in the cat­e­gories of im­ple­men­ta­tions in progress and to be im­ple­mented in the next 12 months could be viewed as ad­dress­ing the provider re­quire­ment to meet the pro­posed mean­ing­ful-use cri­te­ria of the stim­u­lus law.

Garets also says he was “im­pressed” that so many leaders are at least plan­ning to add a PHR, with a pa­tient por­tal se­lected “right be­hind it.”

“The fact that those two were the top two is re­ally in­ter­est­ing,” Garets says. “I didn’t think they were ready for prime time yet.”


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