Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day:Medicare Selects Four Companies Where Beneficiaries Can Maintain Their Own PE Health Records

Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced the selection of four personal health record (PHR) companies to participate in the new Medicare PHR Choice Pilot in Arizona and Utah.


This pilot program will, beginning in early 2009, offer beneficiaries with Original Medicare the opportunity to choose one of the selected PHR companies to maintain their health record information electronically.


The four selected companies are Google Health, HealthTrio,, and PassportMD.  These choices offer beneficiaries a range of product choices from ones that are free to ones that have “concierge” service as well as a diverse set of connections to health care providers, pharmacies, and other sources of health information.


“This pilot is a major step forward for Medicare.  It will provide information and tools that will empower consumers to manage their health better,” said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.  “Importantly, the pilot provides beneficiaries with a choice of products to meet their individual needs.”


PHRs are tools that can help consumers manage their health and health care services.  A PHR is a record of health information that is under the control of the consumer or patient.   Sometimes it only contains data entered by the individual or his or her provider, but it can also include information from a health plan – as is the case in this pilot, where Medicare will provide health information from its claims database.


A PHR, which is controlled by the consumer, is different than an electronic health record (EHR), which is owned by and under the control of the physician.  A PHR may only contain data entered by the consumer or his or her health care provider.


Through this pilot beneficiaries who select one of the participating PHR vendors can add other personal health information if they choose.  Medicare will also transfer up to two years of the beneficiary’s claims data into the individual’s PHR, if the beneficiary requests it.


Depending on the specific product, beneficiaries may be able to authorize links to other personal electronic information such as pharmacy data. PHRs also may offer links to tools that help consumers manage their health such as wellness programs for tracking diet and exercise, information about drugs and medical devices, health education information, and applications to detect potential medication interactions.  Beneficiaries can elect to allow family members, health care providers, or whomever they choose to have access to their PHR.  This can allow caregivers to help manage loved ones health or be critical to a physician caring for you in an emergency.


Each company has privacy and security standards to protect the information transmitted and stored in their PHR records.  More information on the specific security and privacy policies of each of the participating companies can be found on their websites.


CMS’ contractor, Noridian Administrative Services (NAS), led the intensely competitive selection process.


“At Medicare, we strive to find innovative ways to better serve our beneficiaries,” said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems.  “We encourage beneficiaries to consider whether a PHR is right for them.  We plan to evaluate beneficiaries’ satisfaction, issues or concerns about PHRs, and whether PHRs seem to improve the health and associated costs for caring for beneficiaries as part of this pilot.”


More information about the selected companies may be found at these web links:


For Immediate Release:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


CMS Office of Public Affairs


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