Thursday, April 17, 2008

Canada Takes a Closer Look at Personal Health Records

April 17, 2008 – As the Internet has enabled consumers to manage important aspects of their personal lives from the relative comfort of their home, it is no surprise that Canadians are becoming increasingly intrigued by the prospect of being able to view and manage their health information using emerging personal health records (PHR) technologies.

Recent announcements by major players in the IT industry suggest such capabilities are just around the corner. Recognizing developments in this area are moving quickly, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial health ministries have expressed support for Canada Health Infoway’s (Infoway) plan to discuss personal health record solutions with interested vendors and to explore how these technologies could be made available to Canadians in a secure manner.

According to Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, the federally-funded, independent, not-for-profit organization that is leading the adoption of electronic health records across Canada: providing Canadians and their health care providers with appropriate and secure access to their health information has been Infoway’s goal from the onset. The agency wants to ensure appropriate level of trust to protect the privacy and security of health information.

The government anticipates that the onset of personal health record solutions can accelerate the reality of electronic health records.

Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Google have been actively developing this technology. In February, 2008, Google launched a pilot with a medical institution committed to giving patients access to their own medical records: The Cleveland Clinic. A large academic medical center, Cleveland is one of the first partners to integrate on the Google platform.

For more on the Google initiatives see:

Google Conversations about Health & Records

A pilot with the Cleveland Clinic for health information access

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