Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Family Health Portrait: A Family PHR

The Surgeon General has launched a new online tool allowing a user to create an electronic family health tree to track your family health history. The site is called "My Family Health Portrait." The Surgeon General press release.

The tool draws on the value of creating a family health genealogy and marries it with the concepts of PHRs. The tool states, "using My Family Health Portrait you can:
  • Enter your family health history.
  • Create drawings of your family health history to share with family or health care worker.
  • Use the health history of your family to create your own.
The new site lets users create and download their health information into their own computers and e-mail a tree-in-progress to family members to fill in missing health history information. The site also allows a user to "reindex" the tree to include any person in the tree as the center of information. For example I can create a health tree for my family but by sending it to one of my sisters or cousins who adds to the health information tree that person can then reindex the site to look at their health history and potential health risks.

According to the details on the website the tool will be interoperable and EHR-ready (i.e., developed using HL7 Family History Model, LOINC, SNOMED-CT and HL7 Vocabulary) . Information included in the My Family Health Portrait can then be transferred and embedded in EHRs or PHRs. The details on the website indicate that the tool is open source, free and can by "adopted" by other organizations.

Coinciding with the release of My Family Health Portrait, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has published new HIPAA Privacy Rule FAQs related to family medical history. The new FAQs support the roll out of the Surgeon General's family health history portal.

The FAQs address the following questions:

1. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule limit an individual’s ability to gather and share family medical history information?

2. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule limit what a doctor can do with a family medical history?

3. Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, may a health care provider disclose protected health information about an individual to another provider, when such information is requested for the treatment of a family member of the individual?

More from the Washington Post. Tip from iHealthBeat.

No comments: