Medicare picks 4 vendors in PHR pilot program

The use of personal health records could help beneficiaries better manage their own conditions as well as help physicians better treat them, CMS says.

By David Glendinning — Posted Jan. 5, 2009

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Last year, Medicare beneficiaries in South Carolina became the first to have the opportunity to launch their own personal health records. Starting early this year, beneficiaries in two more states will have PHRs available through vendors chosen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

A new Medicare pilot program in Arizona and Utah will attempt to determine whether outcomes and costs can improve if patients take more control over managing their own health. The information in the PHR is owned and largely supplied by the beneficiary, but physicians may have the chance to contribute as well. CMS will provide additional information based on Medicare claims data.

"This pilot is a major step forward for Medicare. It will provide information and tools that will empower consumers to manage their health better," said Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt. "Importantly, the pilot provides beneficiaries with a choice of products to meet their individual needs."

The four PHR firms that CMS chose to participate in the two-state pilot are:

  • Google Health (link)
  • HealthTrio (link)
  • (link)
  • PassportMD (link)

The firms offer a range of services, some free and some that will require participants to pay a fee. Those packages can include "concierge" options that offer more personalized service to patients as well as links to an expanded set of health care information from physicians, pharmacies and others, according to CMS.

Increasing the use of personal health records in Medicare also could have important patient safety implications, the agency said. Because a beneficiary who chooses to participate can allow his or her physician to access the information, the PHR might prove critical to a doctor caring for that person during an emergency.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn