Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) is set to introduce legislation next week that would create a public-private partnership to promote the use of secure, transportable and consumer-owned personal health records.
The bill, a newer version of the Personalized Health Information Act of 2006, would create a personal health record "incentive fund" at the federal level, which would draw dollars not only from the Medicare trust, but also from private contributors, such as health plans and drug and device manufacturers. HHS would administer the fund.
Under a provision in the bill, physicians who use qualifying PHRs instead of paper and pen would receive an annual incentive payment of at least $3 per eligible patient.
Kennedy and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), the lead Republican co-sponsor, were backed by senior leaders from the provider, payer and technology sectors on Capitol Hill.
Kennedy said that one benefit to his approach, which relies on existing Web-based technology, is that physicians wouldnt be required to pour in "six figures" for a computerized health network. Another incentive, he said, is that the use of PHRs would streamline the admissions process.
We need to get the paperwork out of the way and the healthcare out in front, Kennedy said. -- by Matthew DoBias