PHR Evaluation by 4pHbs4


									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
              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:





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’s PHR Evaluation: 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,


       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 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 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:,,, and 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 is defined as “The degree to which an object or device is easy to use

with no specific training”, according to 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 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
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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.


       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.


       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.

       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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