(Washington) -- The importance of personal health records (PHRs) and other technologies that can help patients and physicians improve health care was underscored today by the American College of Physicians (ACP).
ACPs statement came in reaction to an announcement made by a group of large employers. Yesterday, the initial group of employers -- Wal-Mart, BP America, Intel, Pitney Bowes, and Applied Materials -- unveiled Dossia, a system the employers say will enable individuals to control their own medical data from multiple sources and to create and utilize their personal, private and portable electronic health records.
Representing primary care medicine through a membership of more than 120,000 members, ACP is the nation's largest medical specialty society. ACP emphasized that employers efforts will only succeed if they are integrated into clinical practice at the point of care as part of an ongoing relationship between the patient and his/her physician.
"ACP is leading the way with other professional societies -- including the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) -- by working on a collaborative effort with employers to produce a patient-centered medical home (PC-MH) that will bring patient health records, electronic medical records and other technologies into the office to support an ongoing patient-physician relationship," said Lynne Kirk, MD, FACP, president of ACP. "The effort has enormous potential to transform clinical practice through collaboration among patients, employers, vendors and physicians." ACP is in discussions with payers, employers, and others to test elements of the PC-MH as well as a payment structure that recognizes and supports the benefits of care provided in a PC-MH. These demonstration projects will pay particular attention to the potential issues for small practices, which represent the majority of ACPs practicing members.