Employers that offer personal health records should ensure information is consistently protected and should communicate openly about the records to their workers, according to new best practices.
The best practices, developed by the California HealthCare Foundation, IBM Corp., and major employers including Wal-Mart Stores, advise employers to be transparent about their reasons for offering PHRs, and incorporate information about them into health benefits programs. Education, access and portability are also important to curb anxiety many people feel about employer-sponsored PHR initiatives. Employees should be able to choose a family member or other caregiver to direct access to the records on their behalf in case of an emergency, according to the guidelines.
"The best practices will go a long way toward helping employers establish the trust of their employeeseveryone benefits," Janlori Goldman, director of the Health Privacy Project at Harvard University, which staffed the initiative, said in a written statement.