Travis Miller February 10, 2009 Report 3 Today the healthcare industry is trying to evolve into a more efficient and safe industry. One tool that that the healthcare industry is trying to implement in order to achieve this, is a PHR or Personal Health Record. PHR can hold vital information of an individual’s medical history. The one of the main problems that the healthcare industry is experiencing with the PHRs is that there is no standardization among them. That is, a PHR from Google, might not have the same information that a PHR from BigBendHealth. This lack-of transparency among providers is proving to be a “thorn in the side” to the healthcare industry for the acceptance of PHRs. After doing some research, I have come up with some items and features that I believe should be on a PHR. They include the following: Insurance Information Medications Taken-What kind? How Often? Dosage Amount? Hospitalization Info-When? Why? What Treatments? Discharge Summaries Basic Information- Name, Age, Address, SSN#, ICE contact numbers, Home phone number, Race Should be a combination of an EMR and EHR o Authorized Personnel (i.e. healthcare provider, pharmacy, and insurance company) input, update, and view the record Located on a Secure Server that is backed up daily and can be access from anywhere in the world. Ability to map data, and track trends Be available in multiple languages Patient History-Allergies, Immunizations Travis Miller February 10, 2009 Website Evaluation: Access/Av Complete Reliability Usability Portable Security ailability Privacy Vendor MYMEDICALRECORDS.COM 4 5 3 3 4 4 5 WEBMD 4 4 5 4 5 5 5 IHEALTHRECORD 4 4 4 4 5 4 4 MY HEALTH FOLDERS 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 NOMORE CLIPBOARD 4 4 4 3 4 3 4 MEDICAL RECORD 24/7 4 4 4 4 5 2 4 WORLDMEDCARD 4 4 3 3 3 4 5 WebMD.com’s PHR Evaluation: WebMD.com is an extremely popular website that has lots of information about health related questions. You can just about find out anything Health related on this site. From Symptoms to Causes to Treatments, if it has been scientifically documented more likely than not it is on this site. So naturally as the healthcare industry begins to evolve, so has WebMD. WebMD has a free PHR available for anyone to use. This evaluation will critique WebMD’s PHR from the aspect of seven different categories. They are: Privacy, Security, Usability, Portability, Completeness, Vendor Reliability, Access/Availability. But first, who are WebMD’s targeted consumers? I believe that WebMD’s targeted consumer is every one. One reason why I believe this is because, plain and simple, it’s FREE! If their PHR cost an annual fee, their demographic would be primarily be between 25-40 years old. This is because most people older than 50 are less likely to Travis Miller February 10, 2009 sign up for something new, especially if it requires a computer to access it. By making their PHR free, they have expanded their demographic by at least ten years. This will increase the likelihood of the mass adoption of PHRs. Security Security is probably the number one main concern of consumers in regards to PHRs. So making security a first priority is a must. WebMD uses a variety of tools in protect your private information. They use a standard login procedure, a personal password and login name. This is pretty much an industry standard. Also they use a Secure Socket Layer encryption technology. This will encrypt all personal information when being sent over an Internet connection. Privacy Privacy is another factor when determining the efficiency of a PHR. WebMD puts a heavy emphasis on privacy. WebMD is a member of the TRUSTe Organization. The TRUSTe Organization is an organization that commits to privacy of personal information. It is an organization made up of hundreds of websites that are deemed trustworthy by TRUSTe’s strict guidelines and rules. Some other websites that are a member of TRUSTe are: abc.com, godaddy.com, espn.com, and yahoo.com. In my opinion, WebMD can be counted as a trusted source. WebMD will not give out any information to a third-party website without approval from the user first. This will prevent any private information being sold to a third-party company. WebMD does collect and analyze user’s cookies and web beacons. However, this contains no personal information so usefulness of that data is low. In my opinion, WebMD does a sufficient job with privacy protection. Travis Miller February 10, 2009 Usability Usability is defined as “The degree to which an object or device is easy to use with no specific training”, according to wikipedia.com. This category is important factor in determining the success rate of a PHR. One criticism I have on the Usability of WebMD’s PHR is that it is difficult to find on the site. There isn’t a link on the main page nor is their any clear indication where it might be. It took me 15 minutes of trying to find it on the site before I gave up and went to their search bar. Even when I typed in “PHR” in their search engine, the main results were how to keep a Home Health Record. However I did eventually find it using the search bar. The PHR itself, though, has a high usability rating. It offers a unique service called HealthQuotient, which is a step-by-step process that will help you not only set up your PHR but also give you an “HQ” score. Your HQ score is a score that you are given that is a summation of your general health. With HealthQuotient you can even compare your HQ score with the national average for your gender and age. This feature kind of lets you know how you stand, health wise, to the rest of the nation. The PHR itself is easy to use. If anything needs to be added it can be added simply with the click of a button. If I had to give the WebMD’s PHR a usability rating, I would have to give it 99%. It is something that my grandmother could definitely use without any hassle or stress. Portability Portability is the ability that information can be imported and exported at any given time. This is important from a physician or clinician standpoint. If a PHR has a high Portability rating, the healthcare provider is more likely to use than one that is difficult to access. WebMD does a good job with the portability issue of their PHR. The Travis Miller February 10, 2009 consumer has several different options. The first is a print out copy in pdf form. It’s a pretty basic form but effective. There isn’t any excess words or statements, allowing doctors to quickly scan and get all the information that they need. WebMD also offers consumers the ability to share their information online. You can choose however not to share your health information with the simple click of a button. Completeness The completeness of PHR is described as the effectiveness of useful information that the user is able to provide. WebMD’s PHR has all the necessary information that would be useful. The main bulk of the PHR can be divided into eight categories. They are: conditions, medications, allergies, surgeries, immunizations, tests, coverage, and basic information. There is also an option for adding family history medical records, which could also be valuable information. Any information that a doctor or EMT would need could be found in WebMD’s PHR. Vendor Reliability Vendor Reliability is another issue that is important to consumers. Consumers need to be rest assured that their PHR company will be around for awhile. This has to be one of WebMD’s strongest selling points. WebMD has been around and is very well known among Internet users. Thus the probability that WebMD shuts down anytime in the near future is slim-to-none. Because of their popularity, WebMD has some major sponsors in the medical field. Some well known include: Viagra and Pampers. WebMD shows no signs of slowing down so the reliability that it will remain up is extremely high. Travis Miller February 10, 2009 Access and Availability Access and Availability is last of the key categories that needs to be critiqued when evaluated WebMD’s PHR. Like most, if not all, of the PHRs available on the web Access and Availability isn’t a major concern. The reason being is because it is on the Internet. Thus, all you need to access it is an Internet connection. Which in today’s society, is easier than calling someone on the phone. All you need to access it is your user id and password. If you forget either user id or password, you can get it sent to your email account at any time. Accessing your PHR should not ever be a major problem or issue. Recommendations I have several recommendations for WebMD on their PHR. One being is that they need to increase Accessibility. By that, I mean WebMD needs to make it easily accessible on their main page to access the PHR. As I stated earlier, I had a hard time finding WebMD’s PHR on their site. WebMD needs to make, at the very least, a link on the main page to the main PHR login. However, I would recommend a considerable portion of the main page advertising their PHR. I am actually surprised that the marketing department has not “jumped-the-gun” on this and implemented advertisements on the main page. Another recommendation that I have is the WebMD’s PHR should behave more of a combination of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR). EMRs and EHRs allow authorized personnel to update and maintain a user’s PHR. Authorized personnel include: pharmacy, healthcare providers, and insurance company. The “perfect” PHR, in my opinion would behave as a combination of all three electronic health records. WebMD does allow for your doctor to view and update your PHR via a separate login exclusive to doctors and clinicians. This is a step in the right Travis Miller February 10, 2009 direction, however more must be done in order to increase the effectiveness of a PHR. Also I notice that WebMD on has an English version of the PHR. WebMD should make their PHR available in all of the major languages around the world. This way if you are overseas in a foreign-speaking country and need to visit a doctor, the doctors or clinicians can view and understand your PHR. These are some recommendations that I believe will improve efficiency and usability of WebMD’s PHR. Conclusions Overall we have looked at seven different categories while evaluating WebMD’s PHR. Each category is an important factor when deciding who’s PHR one should get. My overall assessment of WebMD’s PHR is very good. It is a PHR that I would recommend to my friends and family. PHRs are a fairly new technology that is trying to make its way up the ladder and become mainstream. With all new technology there are inevitable speed bumps along the way. In time, PHRs will be re-analyzed and reformed to better meet the needs of all consumers. As time passes, more and more people will be willing to adopt PHRs and the new healthcare system. With more and more people today becoming technology literate, the likelihood of adoption by mainstream society increases. Hopefully in the next five years PHRs will behave more like a combination of EMRs and EHRs, and the objective adoption-rate has been achieved.
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