The Center for Information Technology Leadership (CITL) conducted a study on the value of personal health records (PHRs), and determined the United States could save $21 billion each year at the national level. The study assumes a ten year role-out and 80% nationwide usage. CITL presented their findings at the American Informatics Association annual symposium in Washington, DC.

The study explored four PHR architectures: provider-tethered, payer-tethered, third party, and interoperable PHR systems. The architectures support information collection and sharing with authorized parties, information for self-management, and health information exchange. CITL finds the greatest benefits would come from deploying interoperable PHRs to 80% of the US population.

Provider-tethered PHRs are supplied and managed by the patient’s physician. This type of PHR is tied into the provider’s medical record database. Payer-tethered PHRs are managed by insurance companies and connected to their administrative databases. Third-party PHRs aggregate healthcare data for users via manual data exchange. Interoperable PHRs use regional aggregation of patient’s data via standards-based automated data exchange.

Regardless of the architecture, “PHRs have the potential to dramatically improve efficiencies in our healthcare system,” according to Dr. Blackford Middleton, Chairman of CITL. Their research also finds that the “benefits and annual savings far outweigh the costs” of implementing PHRs. Finally, CITL states that benefits from PHRs could accrue to both payers and providers.

XLEMR is developing a PHR based on their electronic medical record paired with the Walletex USB flash drive. XLEMR offers a custom system based on Microsoft Office, allowing easy data storage on USB devices. The Walletex flash drive is a slender USB drive the size of a credit card that fits in one’s wallet.

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Ryan Ricks
Security Officer