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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

E-Health Lunch Provides Food for Thought

E-Health Lunch Provides Food for Thought

October 26, 2007

David Ahern, PhD, National Program Director of the Health e-Technologies Initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, spoke at the October 26 E-Health Consumer Network Lunch at Health Care For All. His presentation, "Consumer Perspectives on Personal Health Records [PHRs] and Their Potential for Enhancing Patient-Provider Communication," focused on the research he and some colleagues have been conducting, which solicits and focuses on consumer input for the design of the personal health record.

Oddly enough, although health records in general, and personal health records in particular, are repositories of and dependent on consumers' personal health information, consumers are often not part of the e-health conversation at all, or if they are, they are viewed as peripheral to it. Not surprisingly, the research David presented pointed to the critical importance of engaging consumers from the start in conversations relating to the electronic storage and use of their health information. From this event's great turnout and engaged audience, I would say that consumers and advocates agree.

Click here for the presentation. You can also look at other work of the Initiative at www.hetinitiative.org. For an excellent description of PHRs, click here for the California HealthCare Foundation's report.