There are many new PHR products that run on USB keys, flash drives, mobile phone devices, PDA’s and more being introduced to the market every day. For a PHR application to be truely beneficial it must be platform independent, have a zero footprint, be accessible , with a permissions structure, be available to the provider, first responder, patient and most important provide encryption or at a minimum a password and ID functionality to protect the contents of the device.

When you are expanding EMR to a platform for individuals, to be functional for both the patient and provider, mobile device applications should contain at a minimum patient personal data, insurance data, medication data, emergency contact information, immunization and allergey data, providers list, medical conditions, and actual digital images of patient charts and medical film. Inclusion of actual images of paper and film records, such as x-rays can be extremely useful in an emergency situation, clarify a condition and help reduce cost when shared. It is extremely important that the data is secured and not vulnerable to exposure. Acceptance and use of this new technology by patients and providers is going to hinge on the ability of the right vendors to produce and bring to the market safe, reliable and affordable solutions. This includes true portability, portal back-up options, virus protection, file synchronization, and easy management of the PHR by the patient. Focusing on the PHR application attributes and security of the patient information is of far greater importance than just the mobile device medium. Patients and providers should put as much emphasis on functionality, data use, data source,  ease of use and attributes as possible.  Seek out the right solution. Don’t assume the product developer is knowledgable because they are part of a focus group, certified by a new consortium of vendors, a large medical organization or merely say they are.  Look at their history with developing secure records management solutions and experience. I hope this will give you pause before making that important PHR product decision. For more information on this subject, EMR, records management, product information and more email ldhunt@idsscan.com.