MANAGED CARE June 2008. ©MediMedia USA
Insurance industry executives from Anthem, UnitedHealth, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente and Aetna, along with California insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, have joined to ensure that patients can transfer their personal health records (PHRs) between insurance companies.
A PHR is a tool used to manage an individual’s medical information. Nearly all insurers offer PHRs, but few patients are using them at present. Using a PHR ensures that a member’s entire medical history is available, to use as the member sees fit, regardless of insurer at any given time.
Operating like a calendar of medical events, PHRs can contain information about doctor or hospital visits, prescription information, or test results. PHRs can also include information that the member wishes to enter such as information about childhood vaccines, living wills or organ donation wishes, and next of kin contact information.
“The expanded use of personal health records will improve patient care and potentially reduce medical costs,” says Poizner. Because much of the PHR is filled in automatically by the member’s insurer, the PHR is likely to be up to date and accurate.