Web-based personal health records (PHRs) empower you to control your own medical records. They also let you interact online with health care providers (example: your doctor), applications (example: a weight loss program), and devices (example: a blood pressure monitor). PHRs are an alternative to the hospital- and physician-centered electronic medical records often touted by politicians.
Unfortunately, research shows that consumer adoption of PHRs has been very slow. In fact, there are reports that Google plans to scale back its PHR initiative, Google Health.
However, I wouldn’t give up on PHRs just yet. Consumers won’t sign up in droves until pharmacies, doctors, hospitals, and others offer PHR users compelling features and benefits. It takes time to build an ecosystem. But progress is being made.
To kick off our PHR coverage, I’m going to sign up for Microsoft HealthVault. I’ll report on my experiences as I proceed. Later, I’ll try other PHRs such as Google Health, AHIMA (MyPHR), and WebMD, and I’ll let you know how they compare.