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Meeting To Discuss Issue Of Personal Health Records

The Harvard Medical School (HMS) Center for Biomedical Informatics is hosting a meeting that is to discuss the privacy, business, societal, and technical issues surrounding personal health records. The first meeting on Personally Controlled Health Records Infrastructure (PCHRI 2006) will be held on October 10-11. //

"The work done at this meeting will further the development of the right kind of healthcare information infrastructure," said keynote speaker Mitch Kapor, widely known as the founder of Lotus Development Corporation. For the past 20 years, he has been in the forefront of information technology as an entrepreneur, investor, social activist, and philanthropist.

"With the nation on the verge of adopting personal health records (PHRs) to serve the needs of patient care, public health and research, we're at a critical juncture where the design and implementation of PHRs can be fully aligned with patients' needs for privacy and control, as well as prompt clinical service," added Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, co-director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and HMS Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston. "For this reason, the Center for Biomedical Informatics is convening the meeting."

"The PCHRI team has taken a boldly neutral, consumer-centric approach to facilitating industry consensus around this philosophy with an open-source technical model and an inclusive diffusion approach," said Keith Strier, Provider Innovation & Emerging Opportunities Lead for the Health Care & Life Science Practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP.

The two-day meeting - co-sponsored by Intel Corporation, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Children's Hospital Boston - will provide a basis for ongoing collaboration on standards for patient-controlled interoperable electronic health records. Working groups at the invitation-only conference will focus on the technical challenge of exchanging patient records while maintaini ng security and honoring individual control, business models for rolling out PHRs, societal issues in promoting the uptake of PHRs, use of PHR systems for the public good, legal challenges, and measurement of the value of the technology.

"Children's Hospital Boston, which pioneered development of personally controlled health record infrastructure, is co-sponsoring this conference to help realize the vision we have for our own patients, on a national and international scale," said Daniel Nigrin, MD, MS, Chief Information Officer at Children's.

New applications that can be built on top of a shared, public infrastructure, as well as public and private partnerships to create that infrastructure, will be addressed by John Halamka, MD, MS, keynote speaker on the second day of the conference. Dr. Halamka chairs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Health Information Technology (IT) Standards Panel, and is Chief Information Officer of CareGroup Health System and of HMS.

New applications also will be discussed by PCHRI 2006 co-chairs Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, and William C. Crawford.

Dr. Mandl is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and a faculty member of the HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics. A pioneer in consumer-focused informatics, his open-source secure system for managing patient health records has been incorporated into one of the four National Health Information Network projects sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology. Mr. Crawford is a staff member focused on Healthcare IT in the Office of Policy at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington, DC. He was previously Chief Technology Officer at Invantage, Inc., is author of several books on enterprise IT, and has held a variety of senior roles in the healthcare and pharmaceu tical information technology field.

"Personal health records can connect Americans to their healthcare – enabling patients and their families to play a more active role than ever before in managing and improving their own health," said Carol Diamond, MD, MPH, Managing Director, Health, Markle Foundation. The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of information and communication technologies to address critical public needs, particularly in the areas of health and national security.

"Allowing patients to gain and retain control over their own health information will encourage the development and adoption of new health care applications," noted Mr. Kapor. "An open standards approach, in which standards are built and vetted by the entire community, not just vendors, is an important and necessary step in this direction."

Contact: Judith Montminy
Harvard Medical School
Source: Eurekalert


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