The recent announcement of the Common Framework for Networked Personal Health Information by the Connecting for Health collaboration lead by the Markle Foundation is just the next wave in what may be a tidal shift. The tidal shift is one centered on the input, control, ownership, and administration of health information that results from the active and real use of PHRs by consumers.
Those participating in and endorsing the Connecting for Health initiative are a diverse group of health care and technology companies, including Google, Microsoft, Intuit, WebMD, Dossia, BlueCross BlueShield, AARP, AAFP, SureScripts and others.
Whether or not the wave is large enough or just one of many more to come is yet to be determined. The ocean of health information and health information exchange is so fluid these days as we undergo major projects surrounding health information technology at the national level, state level, by HIEs, private industy, etc. For health lawyers - it is a field day for spotting regulatory legal issues and implications. Some of the real life factual scenarios we have been going through as a result of work related to the West Virginia Health Information Network and the NIH2 project remind me of law school exams.
For more insight on the Connecting for Health collaborative check out thoughts by other health care lawyers: Jeff Drummond who talks about the provider "betamax" and "culture fears, David Harlow who raises good questions and applauds the effort to gain public trust. He also looks at whether the recent PHR developments might obviate the need for local HIE infrastructure (with follow up commentary from Micky Tripathi at MAeHC Blog).
Also, Matthew Holt looks at the important health vs. wealth issue underlying the effort and the (non)involvement of the EMR vendors in the process. Jen McCabe Gorman at Health Management Rx makes predications of a possible PHR health app war focused on creating strategic affiliations with health care businesses in an effort to gain market share in the consumer focused PHR space.
Check out the latest developments with a Google News search: "connecting for health".
For another "wave" on the tidal shifting consumer health front from a guy who knows waves - check out Scott Shreeve, M.D.'s post, "Cease and Desist? How about Understand and Resist," at Crossver Health. Scott's post breaks down the issues involved in the attempt by the California and New York Departments of Health to prevent consumers from accessing their own genetic information. More from Matthew Holt.
Another example not unlike the PHR issue, where the current health regulatory structure is not evolving quick enough to satisfy the needs of the consumer focused health technology startups. In this case the consumer focused genetic health 2.0 companies. As Scott ends with, ". . . One intractable issue. Millions of dollars at stake. Tens of millions of people watching. Vegas odds, anyone?"