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Healthcare Groups Collaborate On New Reference Guides For Personal Health Records

April 5, 2010

Information will help consumers and clinicians better utilize PHRs to manage their healthcare

WASHINGTON – Several groups across the healthcare sector will rollout two new “Personal Health Record (PHR) Quick Reference Guides” in an effort to educate consumers and clinicians about how PHRs can be useful tools for making more informed healthcare decisions and enhancing care coordination.

The easy-to-use guides, one for consumers and one for clinicians, include basic information about PHRs along with a FAQ section designed to increase understanding of the value of using and maintaining a PHR. The guides were created by a collaboration of healthcare groups including the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Osteopathic Association of Medical Informatics (AOAMI), and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

PHRs are vital healthcare tools that allow consumers to store health information such as medical conditions, allergies, medications, and doctor or hospital visits in one convenient and secure place. The consumer controls how the information in the PHR is shared, and with whom.

“Empowering consumers and clinicians with readily available health information helps get the right information into the right hands at the right time. Health plans are playing a valuable role in providing consumers with the tools and information necessary to make well-informed healthcare decisions,” said Dr. Allan Korn, BCBSA senior vice president and chief medical officer. “PHRs can be an important contribution to helping personalize a patient’s healthcare experience.”

According to a recent survey of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, 90 percent of respondents currently offer or are planning to offer PHRs to their members, which is a significant increase over the 56 percent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies who offered or planned to offer PHRs in 2008.

PHRs also enable individual patients and their designated caregivers to view and manage health information and play a greater role in their own healthcare choices. “Patients have the ability to quickly and readily share healthcare information via a PHR, allowing providers to help determine a treatment plan and keep track of chronic diseases such as diabetes,” said Joseph W. Stubbs, MD, FACP, president, ACP.

“Encouraging physicians, other providers and patients to utilize PHRs will help streamline care coordination and improve the delivery of care,” said Daniel W. Saylak, DO, president of the AOAMI. “PHRs have the ability to encourage individuals to make healthier lifestyle decisions.”

While PHR usage continues to grow, these new quick reference guides were designed to help improve consumers’ familiarity and comfort level with PHR tools to encourage more participation. “Increased utilization of health information tools such as PHRs is one avenue to help improve healthcare quality and efficiency,” said William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, president and CEO of MGMA.

For more information about PHRs or to download copies of the PHR Quick Reference Guides for consumers or providers, please visit www.bcbs.com/phr_guide.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.

About American Osteopathic Association of Medical Informatics

The American Osteopathic Association of Medical Informatics (AOAMI) is a 501(c) not-for-profit member association. It is the only medical informatics specialty association that serves the needs of osteopathic physicians as well as corporate members. Its primary purpose is to promote expertise in the use of technology in support of patient care. To learn more about the AOAMI, visit our Web site at www.aoami.org.

About American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

About MGMA

MGMA is the premier membership association for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices. Since 1926, MGMA has delivered networking, professional education and resources, and political advocacy for medical practice management. Today, MGMA's 21,500 members lead 13,700 organizations nationwide in which some 275,000 physicians provide more than 40 percent of the health care services delivered in the United States.

MGMA's mission is to continually improve the performance of medical group practice professionals and the organizations they represent. MGMA promotes the group practice model as the optimal framework for health care delivery, assisting group practices in providing efficient, safe, patient-focused and affordable care. MGMA is headquartered in Englewood, Colo., and maintains a government affairs office in Washington, D.C. Please visit mgma.com and follow our Twitter list to find out which medical practices are using social media.

Contact:
Kelly Miller, BCBSA, 202.626.4825
David Kinsman, ACP, 202.261.4554
Mike Campea, AOAMI, 312.202.8043
Liz Johnson, MGMA, 303.799.1111 ext. 1347

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