10947 tn?1281404252

Introducing Personal Health Records


Several weeks ago, we launched a new infrastructure for My MedHelp. At that time, we hinted that the changes would help us prepare for the next product release, Personal Pages. A few weeks later, we launched the first Personal Page - a Baby Personal Page. Now we're happy to announce the latest feature using the new Personal Pages infrastructure, a Personal Health Record (PHR).  

What is a Personal Health Record?

A Personal Health Record (PHR) allows you to store and manage all of your health information in one central place, from immunizations and medical conditions to allergies and medications. You can also store emergency contacts, surgeries and procedures, lab test results, your doctor's information, and your insurance information. You can even create PHRs for your family members or other people you care about. If you've ever forgotten what your lab results were and when you did them, or if your child had that chickenpox vaccine, this is a great solution. And it's completely free.

How to create a personal page
* Go to My MedHelp
* Next to the Summary tab, you'll see a tab with a "+" in it
* Hover over the + and click Personal Health Record (PHR)
* Walk through the wizard
* Set up any applications you didn't already have

What's new?

* New Applications: New applications allow you to store personal health information. The new applications include: Personal Info (e.g. blood type, gender, height, weight), Medical Conditions, Allergies, Adult Immunizations, Child Immunizations, Surgeries & Procedures, Medications & Treatments, Emergency Contacts, Doctors Information, Insurance Information.

* Reference: Now you can easily search for more information on MedHelp relating to your conditions, medications, allergies, etc. Just click the Reference link from the expanded view of the application.

* Secret Question & Secret Answer: We've added a lot of security and encryption for the PHR feature. As a result, only someone signing in with your password can access this information. MedHelp (Harry) can no longer help you with your password. If you forget your password, you will have to provide the answer to your secret question in order to change your password. Anyone who signed up before this release did not create a secret question/answer, but you will be required to do so before you can create a PHR. Otherwise, if you forget your password, you would lose all the data stored in your PHR. This seems complicated, but just be sure that you remember your user name, password, and secret answer, and you'll be fine!

Who can see this data?

The data in your PHRs can only be viewed by you when you're logged in under your user name. Currently, you do NOT have the option to allow your MedHelp friends or the public view this data. You also cannot invite others to view this data, although we may allow you to Share This page with others in the future if there is demand for it. Even MedHelp admins (like Harry) cannot see the data, unless you explicitly grant MedHelp permission to view this data. In addition, our advertisers cannot view this page or target ads to you based on the data you enter into this page.

How do I get help with my PHR?

If a member needs help with their PHR, they must first send an email asking for Support and describing the problem through the Contact Us form. Harry will then contact the user and ask them to "Enable Support" on their PHR by clicking the link on the upper right on the PHR page. Once clicked, MedHelp admins will be able to view this member's PHR data to help them troubleshoot the issue. Once the issue is resolved, the user can remove the access or access will automatically expire within 24 hours.

What is MedHelp's Privacy Policy surrounding PHR?

MedHelp has adopted a new Privacy Policy that is available at http://www.medhelp.org/privacy.htm. The Privacy Policy helps to clarify our position on the data stored in your PHR as well as other data you provide. The highlights are that we won't sell any of your personally identifiable information that you enter anywhere on the site. We may aggregate information, but no one would be able to figure out that it's you based on the data we aggregate. For example, we may say 50% of MedHelp members have allergies, but no one can identify a particular person based on such statements.
6 Responses
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559187 tn?1330782856
This sounds like a great resource for us, but really, how secure is this site?  I've read the privacy policy, but still worry about personal information being accessed.  A little reassurance would be most appreciated.
Helpful - 0
10947 tn?1281404252

As part of the Personal Health Records release we have made several enhancements to address security. First, all of the Health Record data is encrypted, and only your login can de-crypt the data. This means, even MedHelp employees can not see your data from your account or even from the back end tables where the data is stored. This is the reason that for PHR only, if you do need technical support you need to actually allow MedHelp to see the data and your PHR, and even then, we only have access for 24 hours. (and even in this case, only 2 senior level employees will be given access to provide help) Second, we have put in some changes to the password process, forcing all members who use PHR to enter in a challenge question, similar to what many financial websites uses. This is another layer of security to protect your password and account. Third, we removed all external ads from any PHR page so that an advertiser can not crawl the content of the page. Finally, we updated our privacy policy to be more explicit around PHR vs. the rest of the site.

We always take privacy very seriously here, and even more so with the PHR data. Hopefully this addresses your concern. If not, feel free to ask more.

MedHelp - Harry
Helpful - 0
195469 tn?1388322888
If you have serious doubts about using this feature and would prefer to store your medical information on your own computer, then by all means, you should do it that way.

I do believe that MedHelp is taking all the appropriate precautions to ensure that none of this information is made public or can be seen by others.  However, despite the convenience of having all this information in one place, like the MedHelp site, you can just as easily store it in your "Word" programs on your computer and feel absolutely SURE that your private information will never be seen, by anyone but you.

I am usually very 'gun-ho' about all of MedHelp's new features, but this one I do not welcome.  Your medical information is highly protected by the medical community with all the 'Hipaa' regulations, so why on earth would you want to post it on a website in the extremely off chance that someone else may see it?

This is one MedHelp user that prefers to keep all of my very private medical information in MY hard-drive, not on someone else's site, where I do not have absolute control over the information.  I DO trust MedHelp.  I really do.  But as with everything that is "put on a computer" somewhere on the Internet; it is at risk.  Even government computers and huge corporations computers are hacked into all the time..

I'm sorry MedHelp if I have over-stepped my bounds with my opinions.  I just do not see a huge need for this kind of feature, when there are things like "spell check," and other editing features, that others have been begging for and have not been forthcoming.  MedHelp working on all these "flashing" ads is another thing that people have been begging to have taken off, to make our use of MedHelp more pleasant.

Helpful - 0
10947 tn?1281404252

It's obviously a personal choice, and an optional feature. It can be used with varying degrees of personal information, some of our members are even using it to simply manage their Pets immunization schedules. But if it's not something you feel comfortable having online, by all means, do not use the feature.

MedHelp - Harry
Helpful - 0
572651 tn?1530999357
Hello everyone,

The idea of an online personal health record is not new to me - we had discussed this a while back on the womenheart board.  There are a variety of PHR's available and they don't necessarily have to be stored online.  But EVERYONE should have one completed somehow and somewhere.

Yes, there is no guarantee that computers won't get hacked into and that's why if you choose an online storage method you should check out their security system carefully, whether it is MedHelp or some other site. There are also wonderful online services that allow you to generate a PHR to be stored on your home computer and/or printed for your eyes only.

There is a very useful interactive tool at  the American Heart Association website that explains PHR's and even a screening tool that allows you to think about what way you would be best served with storing your PHR.  Take the additional spaces out of this address and it will take you to the beginning page.

w w w. americanheart . org /presenter .jhtml? identifier=3056646

I should mention that the AHA does NOT maintain PHR's on their website, but provides this information as a service.  With us heart patients, we constantly have to be aware that TIME IS MUSCLE and quick access to my records can literally mean the difference between life and death.  

Be prepared,

Helpful - 0
195469 tn?1388322888
My apologies to you, Harry.  I think I am having a 'cranky day'  It's a woman thing....I guess!

You certainly don't need a "Heather Headache," with all the other things you deal with everyday.  

Thanks for not setting a firecracker under my office chair.

All the best Harry and have a great week.

Helpful - 0
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