Company To Launch No-Cost Electronic Health Records System
Medem, founded in 1999 by the American Medical Association and six other medical societies, on Monday will unveil a no-cost, Internet-based "personal health record" called iHealthRecord that people can use to log and organize their personal medical information, the Wall Street Journal reports. With the health industry under "increasing pressure from the government, insurers and patient advocates to go digital," Medem is hoping that interest in the system will encourage doctors to use electronic health records, the Journal reports. Through Medem's system, patients can collect data such as emergency contacts, health insurance information and family medical history.
Users will need a password to access the record online and can provide the password to doctors or family members for use in an emergency. To further address privacy concerns, Medem has modeled the system's security measures on those employed by the financial-services industry. Medem encrypts data and hires an outside security company to perform audits on the system. The company also will not sell users' medical information but might make some data available to public health researchers. About 50 physicians and their patients are testing the system through a pilot program.
Medem will send patients and physicians using the system information from CDC, FDA and other groups about prescription drug recalls or about issues related to specific medications or health conditions.
Other groups and companies offer comparable personal health record programs, such as WebMD's WebMD Health, Access Strategies' FollowMe and PepsiCo's secure, Web-based personal health records program for its workers.
However, "no single format is yet attracting a critical mass of users," according to the Journal. National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Brailer said, "This is kind of the Darwinistic phase." David Lansky, director of health at the Markle Foundation, said, "I think the Medem approach is a pretty clever way to take a stab at [digitizing medical data], but it's not a slam dunk by any means" (Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal, 5/9).