Saturday, April 28, 2007

Personal Health Application

In this post, I propose the development of a Personal Health Application (PHA). It is a next generation consumer-centric information system that helps improve healthcare delivery, self-management and wellness by providing clear and complete information, which increases understanding, competence and awareness.

PHAs would:
  • Incorporate sick-care data currently found in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) used by healthcare providers and Personal Health Records (PHRs), and add well-care data focusing on prevention, self-management, and emotional well-being

  • Give a high-definition, big picture, whole-person view of a person's physiological & psychological risk factors, current health, health trends, and projected health status.

  • Reveal the interventions that are effective for an individual by integrating and analyzing a lifetime of data about health status & quality of life, conventional and complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) treatments received, and the clinical outcomes of that care.

  • Enable the exchange of patient data with providers' EHRs, as well as obtaining data directly from lab, pharmacy or hospital systems.
Whereas today's PHRs present narrow views of a person's general health information, PHAs would provide clear, comprehensive views of the whole person-mind, body, spirit and environment-showing risk factors, current health status, health trends, and projected one's future health status. Revealing such trends and predicting one's health condition under different scenarios can be powerful motivators for health living, as well as offering important clinical insights for healthcare providers.

Furthermore, PHRs do little to inform a person about treatment efficacy and the value of CAM approaches. PHAs, on the other hand, would provide this information by collecting and analyzing a lifetime of detailed health data to show what works for the person and what doesn't.

PHAs also bridge well-care and sick-care:
  • Sick-care focuses on the treatment of diagnosed physical & psychological problems

  • Well-care focuses on preventing serious illnesses and complications, and increasing people's well-being and quality of life through self-management and healthy lifestyles.
The objectives of a PHA are to inform, empower and enable consumers to make better decisions and act responsibly. This includes enabling consumers to:
  • Be helpful and proactive in managing their health, rather than passive and reactive.

  • Make wise decisions when agreeing to specific treatment options and living health lifestyles

  • Carry out strategies for remaining healthy longer

  • Comply with plans of care when ill to speed recovery, avoid complications, and achieve the best possible quality of life

  • Deal effectively with personal problems and life stressor to maximize one's overall well-being.


Steven M Hacker,MD , Dermatologist said...

I agree with you regarding your propoased "personal health applications" , it is both insightful and forthcoming. As a physician and founder of the 2 year old free personal health record data management service,, we are constantly striving to take our users feedback and insights from creative people like yourself to better our product. We have several initiatives in place to address the issues you layout and make PassportMD more applicative in nature, and I am quite confident several of the "big boys" with coffers of big dollars such as WebMD, Revolution Health and Google are doing this as well. Ultimately, as phr's like and those similarly offered by WebMD, RevolutionHealth, and even Medicalert begin to offer these applicative tools, the consumer will benefit, given more choice in our free market society. As market forces continue to bear down on this business sector, better products at better values, will ultimately and hopefully better the consumer healthcare experience.
I will continue to read your blog with interest and welcome your comments.
Steve Hacker, MD
Founder & CEO
PassportMD, Inc

Dr. Steve Beller said...

I appreciate your comments, Steve, and thank you.

In reply (and at the of self-promotion), let me say that my colleagues and I are, in fact, developing a prototype PHA based on our foundational work that began in the early 1980’s.

Our PHA is an expert system (i.e., it holdsholds human expertise in the form of computerized rules) with extensive health assessment (mind and body) content and problem-solving tools. It has an intelligent, interactive user interface that is accessible both online and offline. And it uses an asynchronous, publisher-subscriber data acquisition and reporting process that incorporates a proprietary underlying technology enabling it to operate efficiently and economically.

This template-based system also offers “universal translation and composite reporting,” which allows the fluid, secure exchange of information from disparate databases and electronic document repositories—including any practitioner and hospital EMR/EHRs and patient PHRs—and the melding of that information into interactive reports tailored to the particular needs and preferences of patients and providers alike.

There are several other innovative features designed to speed consumer knowledge gains and motivate them to act responsibly.

Anyway, being in a consortium of health information technology vendors, I’m always interested in learning about the work accomplishments of companies such as yours, and examining opportunities.


Dennis Crane said...

Dear Dr.Beller,

Although the post is pretty old, I'd like to say thank you for the useful check list and ideas regarding the goals and principles of PHA.

We've recently launched our own on-line PHA:

I didn't find your contacts here and cannot email you privately, so I'd be very grateful to you if you could contact me info at utshealth dot com. I'd like to discuss some on-topic ideas with you. Thank you.