Viewpoint: Personal health records would increase interoperability among providers

Personal health records for U.S. citizens would help improve the country's healthcare system and enhance interoperability between providers, Barbara Casey, global healthcare leader at information technology and networking company Cisco Systems, told Thrive Global.

Ms. Casey listed establishing a personal health record for each U.S. resident as the No. 1 change she would make to improve the healthcare system. Doing this would "make data more interoperable and shareable among those providers that patients believe should have access to it," Ms. Casey said.

Every person would have a PHR, through private or public means, that would be managed over that individual's lifetime, Ms. Casey added. Additionally, each person would possess ownership over their data, so he or she would have the power to decide who their information is shared with and how it is used and collected. Ms. Casey said Microsoft's HealthVault, the technology giant's patient medical records management service that is set to shut down in November, was possibly "ahead of its time," when the company went live with the service in 2009.

Healthcare in the U.S. will continue to face inefficiencies while health data continues to lack interoperability, Ms. Casey said.

"Because of the different, independent businesses, healthcare data and information is not interoperable, and doesn't 'follow the patient' —  therefore tests are ordered many times, drugs are over-prescribed, costs are multiplied when a patient's records cannot be accessed by multiple providers of care, and so until records can be accessed easily by all, and in a longitudinal and contextual way, our system will continue to demonstrate inefficiencies," she said.

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