The Indian Health Services is building a first-generation personal health records system to serve more than 2 million beneficiaries.

The PHR will be populated with data from HIS’ existing clinical, administrative and billing information systems. Patients will have the ability to access via the Web and print a subset of their health information. Subsequent enhancements of the PHR will offer medical reference information, secure messaging with providers, appointment scheduling and refill requests, and self-entering of information into the PHR. Some self-entered data eventually could become part of the official medical record, according to a notice published Oct. 29 in the Federal Register.

“As the IHS PHR continues to be developed, it will have the ability to register and verify the identity of the patients’ personal representative, in order to provide the representative with user access to the record,” according to the notice. “In addition, future system enhancements will enable the IHS PHR to store the patient’s self-entered information in a separate database, which will eventually have the capacity to be linked or incorporated into the patient’s official electronic health record upon the patient’s request and/or the IHS’s determination that it is appropriate to include in the official medical record.”

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