Having overseen more than 50 acute-care hospitals and having worked in the healthcare industry for more than three decades, I know that the "predicament" Ramesh Srinivasan refers to in his comments on personal health records is really just a matter of people catching up with technology. Emergency room doctors want access to PHRs, as do caregivers for aging spouses and parents. Patients need better information and doctors need better access to that information.
Srinivasan's company offers one solution. It is not alone. With American healthcare spending approaching $2.2 trillion by 2008, the healthcare industry is searching for creative answers to the question of how to improve America's healthcare system. America's workforce is aging and healthcare costs are increasing all at a time when savings are the lowest they've been since the Depression, and credit card debt is at an all-time high.
Wellness360 aims to improve individuals' health management by developing better-educated, motivated and involved healthcare consumers. We do not sell our servicewe offer it free of charge to employees and their families who are making a dedicated effort to improve their health. In fact, we are so sure that organizing medical records, tracking diet and fitness goals and staying educated about healthcare issues will help save lives that we actually pay people who regularly use our service. Our personal health records, compiled via fax, are one component. Almost no one would choose to go back to a time without the convenience of fax machines and cell phonesit soon will be the same with electronic medical records.
What Srinivasan only alluded to was the very real concern about privacy. Wellness360 double-encrypts all information and de-identifies the data at the same level as the National Security Agency's data. Information is safeguarded in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 followed by doctors and hospitals. No one is allowed access to our accounts without member permission.
Ken WestbrookPresidentflexSCAN/wellness360.comMission Viejo, Calif. To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title and hometown.