The passage of ARRA will expedite the adoption of EMRs throughout the healthcare sector. “While the implementation of EMRs is an internal feature of the act, a new and innovative technology such as the Personal Health Record (PHR) will help to further strengthen the healthcare system,” remarked Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) on December 7th as he introduced the “Personal Health Record Act of 2009 (H.R. 4216) in the House.
The Act defines the critical components to be included in PHRs, such as medical and surgical histories including diagnoses and procedures, laboratory results, and information on medications, prescriptions, and allergies.
The Act would require the National Coordinator to develop guidelines regarding the technological standards for interoperability between PHRs and EHRs, and make recommendations for the incorporation of PHRs into community and behavioral health programs.
The Act specifies that Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement available through ARRA would be available to providers that can demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic medical records by obtaining interoperability for EMRs with PHRs.
Since PHRs will change the landscape of how confidential healthcare information is obtained, the Act also requires the issues of privacy, security, and patient safety to be incorporated into PHR development from the onset. While ARRA addresses many of these issues, the Personal Health Record Act will further evaluate these issues specifically pertaining to PHR privacy, utilization, and patient safety.