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More Healthcare Orgs. Using Integrated EHRs to Populate PHRs

March 16, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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More healthcare organizations are relying on integrated electronic health record (EHR) data to populate personal health records (PHRs), a new survey found. 
The data comes from a survey on Blue Button utilization from the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), a Reston, Va.-based nonprofit. WEDI surveyed 274 organizations, including providers, health plans, vendors, and clearinghouses to determine on Blue Button progress. Blue Button represents the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's (ONC) movement to get consumers to easily view their health information. The button itself, which links to a personal health record, was piloted by the Department of Veterans Affairs a few years back and had a good deal of success
In the latest survey, a follow up from 2013, WEDI found that 66 percent of respondents use an integrated EHR to populate its PHR. This is up from 54 percent in 2013. The number of government organizations doing this rose significantly from 60 percent to 100 percent. Other health data sets; for example, claims data and patient-entered data, were not as frequently used in 2014 to populate PHRs as they were in 2013.
Most healthcare organizations are making PHRs available to all patients rather than a subset and like 2013, most are making patients opt-in to get access. The types of PHRs remain divided between custom made products, vendor-supplied products, and products vendors created that are customized. 
The survey found that most organizations transmitting data to patients, providers or authorized third parties are doing it through DIRECT. Health plan and provider respondents especially have both showed an increase in use of DIRECT for transmitting data.
"It is clear through our findings that usage and adoption of personal health records continues to grow among industry stakeholders and awareness of Blue Button+ is slowly building,” WEDI President and CEO Devin Jopp, Ed.D. said in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

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