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May 22, 2008

California Insurance Regulator Touts Value of Personal Health Records

Today, the Department of Insurance is expected to issue a report that urges Californians to use personal health records, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The report found that PHRs are efficient, secure and increasingly widely available. PHRs also can provide consumers with a better way to manage their health care and deal with health insurance claims, according to the report.

PHRs usually include patients' information on:

-Physician visits;
-Lab tests;
-Outpatient procedures; and
-Family medical history.

PHRs do not include clinical information contained in electronic health records used by doctors and hospitals, the Bee reports.

Privacy Issues:

Some patient privacy advocates are skeptical about some of the PHR platforms, such as those offered by Microsoft and Google, and question whether security protections are adequate.

However, state officials on Monday said that PHRs already available through insurers such as Aetna, Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente are secure.

The Department of Insurance also is expected to create a working group to help patients transfer their PHRs when they change health insurers (Glover, Sacramento Bee, 5/20).

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Posted by healthinsurance at May 22, 2008 09:37 AM