Australian About-Face

Mark and I have long debated the business model for Microsoft’s Healthvault in a publicly funded healthcare system such as Canada’s. Well, look halfway around the world and you’ll see that the Australians are considering 180 degree shift in their EHR architecture from a centralized model to a distributed model:,25197,26200249-15306,00.html

According the article, “National E-Health Transition Authority chief executive Peter Fleming said the original vision of a single e-health record system had been abandoned in favour of ‘person-controlled’ records that could be adopted more quickly.” Mr. Fleming is quoted in the article as saying “”Five years ago, there was a strong view that there would be an e-health record for all Australians held on a massive database somewhere. That’s no longer the view.”

Canada Health Infoway has driven important investments in critical eHealth infrastructure. As we seek to leverage these investments perhaps it is time to consider the role of the personal health record (PHR). I suggest that by looking at the Infoway blueprint in a slightly different way we can find ways to take better advantage of PHRs as well as EMRs in physician offices.


2 responses to “Australian About-Face

  1. Ultimately the health record belongs to its owner. We are living in an information age and the so called ‘patient’ or ‘client’ or ‘service recipient’ , in my opinion, owns the record provided she/he plays an active role in creating and maintaining it. The promise of PHRs would be much more easily achievable if EMRs and EHRs are in place. It is a complex system and abandoning the e-health record system in favour of ‘person-controlled’ record under-estimates the complex interactions at play in the delivery of care.

  2. There is a growing school of thought that suggests that we could eliminate the need for EHRs by providing every individual with a PHR. By putting data into / taking data from a PHR individual healthcare providers would have access to all the data they need about a patient. Further, the patient would have ultimate control over who accesses their data and they would be able to share this data with non-healthcare providers such as fitness facilities.


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