NOV 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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PHRs present opportunities for both patients and ophthalmologists I magine this scenario: A new patient with suspected glaucoma comes into your practice from an optometrist referral. The patient comes to the appointment ready with thoughtful questions about glaucoma diagnosis and treatment. You ask the necessary health history questions; the patient has answers for all of them. You ask for names of other doctors the patient sees regularly—the patient has that information as well, and even phone numbers for their offices. When you diagnose the glaucoma and prescribe specific medications the patient should take daily, the patient tells you that remembering to take the meds won't be a problem. Does this scenario sound too good to be true? It doesn't have to be. This could be the wave of the future as personal health records (PHRs) become more common. A PHR—or a personal medical record (PMR), as it's sometimes called—is a tool someone can use to collect, track, and share information about his/her health— or the health of someone he/she cares for, according to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). "It's a tool for consumers as they seek healthcare in any place," said Julie Wolter, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, interim director, Program in Health Sciences, Doisy College of Health Sciences, St. Louis University. Medication information, lab work results, history and physical reports, and glasses or contact lens prescriptions are all examples of information that can be kept in a PHR, Ms. Wolter said. A PHR can be in paper format, perhaps with papers organized neatly in a folder or a three-ring binder. Or it can be in an electronic format via a software program or an app for a smartphone or tablet. Although a PHR is geared toward a patient's health history in general and not specific to ophthalmology, there's plenty of vision-related information that can be included, said Leonard Bielory, MD, previously professor of medicine, Pediatrics, and Ophthalmology, Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School, Newark. This might include glasses and contact lens prescriptions, medication use information, visual field results, reminders to take medications, and names of specialists related to eyecare, said Dr. Bielory, who has developed a $1.99 iPad PHR app called Raphael PMR (STARx Technical Corporation). Patients can also use their PHR to track health information for their own benefit, such as daily calorie counts, daily blood pressure results, and blood sugar measurements, Dr. Bielory said. Although collecting information for a PHR might sound like a lot of work, some patients may already take small steps toward the data collection, said Ms. Wolter. Pediatricians' offices typically provide parents with paper or email copies of children's health information. Other patients may hold on to their medication information sheets or the explanation of benefits they receive from insurance companies, both of which provide pieces to their personal healthcare puzzle, she said. It's no coincidence that PHRs are growing in popularity as electronic medical records (EMRs) become a regular part of many physicians' offices. "All of healthcare is now entering a phase where increased documentation is necessary through EMRs," Dr. Bielory said. Patients can use their PHRs to track health information much in the same way that an EMR might. The benefits for eye doctors PHRs may make life easier for eye doctors by saving time, said Ms. Wolter. Take, for instance, the comcontinued on page 8 PHR resources My PHR www.myphr.com This comprehensive website from AHIMA and the AHIMA Foundation explains what a PHR is and how to create one. There are links on the site for physicians, seniors, parents, caregivers, and the chronically ill. Raphael Personal Health Record starxtech.com/starxtech.com/Raphael_Personal_Medical _Record_App_Overview.html An overview of the PHR mentioned in the article, created by Leonard Bielory, MD. What Is a Personal Health Record? www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/faqs/ what-personal-health-record A federal government resource that explains what a PHR is. December 2013 • Ophthalmology Business 7

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