December 07, 2009
Why a Personal Health Record?
PORTLAND, Ore. – A registered nurse for nearly 40 years, Regence member Barb Chrisman has always encouraged her patients to be active in -- and accountable of – their health care. With the availability of the Personal Health Record (PHR) on myRegence.com, it’s easier for them to get started and do so.
“The nice thing about the PHR is it prompts people on the importance for them to remember things,” said Chrisman of Dallas, Ore. “It can help people track their own vital health information like when they had certain immunizations. Many of my former patients would either forget or not know this when they came into the hospital.”
Along similar lines, another Regence member who is a benefits administrator recently shared feedback: “I often try to encourage my employees to take charge of their health by educating them on the tools such as the PHR offered on the Web site (myRegence.com). I believe in education and empowerment as means to keep our health insurance premium costs manageable.”
“One of our goals at Regence is to empower our members to take charge of their health,” said Will McKinney, Vice President of Consumer-Directed Health Systems for Regence. “We’re excited to see how our members are taking advantage of this with their PHRs.”
Ease of Use
Delivered as a private, secure web-based tool, the PHR contains a member’s medical history including medications, allergies, conditions, treatments and more. The PHR enables individual patients and their designated caregivers to view and manage health information and play a greater role in their own health care.
With just a few clicks of the mouse, members have discovered how easy it is to manage and share their personal health information. They have been able to quickly reference and share their health history with their doctors. Parents have saved time on filling out multiple school/camp/athletic team medical forms by simply printing out “snapshots” of their children’s PHR. And pregnant patients have found convenience in tracking their health progress, such as managing their current medications, with their PHRs.
In addition to advising her patients to do so, Chrisman also regularly maintains her own health history through her PHR and wishes she had access to one earlier.
“I appreciate how I can easily log on to myRegence.com, access my PHR and simply input and track my health information,” said Chrisman. “I can quickly reference my entire health history in one place – something I wish was available earlier.”
Quality health care
The adoption of technology in health care has been leveraged to help reduce preventable errors, such as medication errors, increase compliance with recommended treatments, improve treatment for people with chronic disease, and contribute to lower health care costs.
“The PHR is an important step forward in the national health IT arena,” said McKinney. “Stakeholders believe that the widespread adoption of health information technology will lead to safer, more effective health care.”
Chrisman agrees that patient education and empowerment is helpful to providers, such as herself, in ensuring good quality care. With the PHR and myRegence.com “Regence is helping to encourage the patient to become the full and active partner and to get involved in their health care,” she said.
Helping to define industry standards
Specifically, Regence’s PHR allows members to:
- store all their health information in one secure, confidential location
- easily access their health information so they can accurately communicate relevant medical history with any provider
- easily update the PHR with pre-populated information from claims
- create a record for dependents
- access any General Health Assessments taken (also available on myRegence.com)
- help save money by preventing duplicate tests or procedures
Members can manage pre-populated information from their claims and also manually enter additional data, ultimately sharing relevant PHR information with their provider by printing or via e-mail.
To date, nearly 135,000 PHRs have been created by Regence members since its introduction in late 2007. And in a recent Regence member survey, nearly half of the respondents indicated that they either check or update their PHR at least once a month and more than 62 percent agreed the PHR is a valuable tool that helps to improve the overall value of myRegence.com.
Background on myRegence.com
myRegence.com is designed to help advise members on health care and lifestyle options, provide navigation through the health care system and reward those who make healthier choices. With myRegence.com, members can find all of their health-related resources in one place, including claims information, fitness and nutrition tips, medication summaries and other helpful information. Members can even earn Regence Rewards points —redeemable for gift certificates to hundreds of retailers — just for actively taking charge of their health.
Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence serves more than 2.5 million members as Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (in Washington). Each health plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or follow us on Twitter.
Regence is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.