Is the Industry Ready to Get Personal?

It's the untethered variety that providers most commonly associate with PHRs-think GoogleHealth. The technology's inconvenience creates the biggest impediment to consumer adoption, many say. David Voran, M.D., medical director at St. Joseph, Mo.-based Heartland Health's Innovation Clinic, says he tried to create his own PHR using free-standing commercial software. "It got to be a nuisance. It involves continual reconciliation of the record. When I ask patients about PHRs, they say they're not worth the effort."Instead, the clinic offers patients connectivity via a portal linking directly to its EHR, from Cerner. The Cerner portal offers transactions and features beyond the reach of most PHRs-such as granting chart access. "They can schedule visits and communicate with physicians," he says. "The majority of patients don't use the portal, but among chronic patients, 80 percent do."

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