DOD preps personal health records

The Military Health System will unveil a prototype of the personal health record system next month, according to defense officials.

Microsoft Corp. is the lead developer in a partnership with the Military Health System and Google Inc. to develop a personal health record system for military health care beneficiaries, an MHS spokesman said.


An initial version of the system is scheduled to be unveiled in Dec. 2008, according to an MHS blog posting last month by Stephen  Jones,  principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs.


The prototype personal health record will be “available to, and entirely controlled by, the patient, and at no additional cost to the beneficiary,” according to the Jones blog post.


PHRs may include a number of different capabilities all or some of which may be included in any given system.


The Veterans Affairs Department unveiled a PHR called MyHealtheVet in 2003. MyHealtheVet is used primarily to provide health information to users and to refill drug prescriptions.


Both Microsoft and Google introduced PHRs last year. Microsoft’s HealthVault PHR, unveiled in October 2007, allows users to store personal health information in a secure, encrypted database. The individual user controls what information goes in and who gets to see it.


Google's PHR, announced two weeks after Microsoft’s, emphasizes storage and movement of individual health records. Google has partnered with major pharmacy chains, testing laboratories,  prescription drug management companies, and prescription mail order firms. Patients can authorize their prescription histories and activities automatically transmitted to their personal health records. They can also push data to the health care providers of their choosing.


At this point, nether MHS nor Microsoft were willing to reveal what features would be included in the DOD PHR.


But Jones wrote, “We are very excited about the potential of this new technology.”

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