Personal Health Record Launched in Clay County, West Virginia

An innovative Personal Health Record System titled "HealtheMountaineer" is currently being piloted in Clay County, West Virginia. The system allows patients to log in online and review medical records, lab results, immunizations, and more.

Patients of Primary Care, a rural clinic in Clay County, West Virginia now have the ability to review medical information and contribute to their healthcare through a secure internet portal as of June 1st, 2010. This program aims to benefit patient health while improving the overall quality of care provided. This Personal Health Record (PHR) is titled HealtheMountaineer, and ties directly into Primary Care’s existing Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. A collaborative effort between KRM Associates Incorporated (KRM), the West Virginia Health Improvement Institute, Dr. Sarah Chouinard, and the staff of Primary Care is responsible for this innovative technology project.

The HealtheMountaineer system currently allows users to login and review information maintained by their doctor such as diagnoses, immunizations, lab results, vital signs, and medications. Users are also able to input and track personal information such as weight, height, blood pressure, or medically relevant data not currently stored in their provider’s EMR system; patients may then share this with their provider to better coordinate medical care. Through the integration of online chat, patients are also able to communicate directly with staff for administrative tasks, such as appointment scheduling. KRM plans on incorporating additional features as the project expands such as user rights delegation, health dashboarding, and patient education materials. The site is available to patients at www.healthemountaineer.com.

KRM modeled the initial project design after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s MyHealtheVet project. Developed by the VA, this solution provides online access for veterans to health services and medical records, and has been recognized as a leading example of online patient interactivity throughout the medical industry. By using the insights of professionals who participated in the MyHealtheVet project as well as ongoing feedback by end users and medical staff, the HealtheMountaineer project is continually being crafted to address the needs and concerns of providers and patients alike. Once the pilot phase is completed, the solution will be made available under an open-source licensing structure.

West Virginia is a recognized national leader in the use of open-source healthcare technology. Primary Care, along with over forty other clinics statewide, utilizes a system titled Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS). This open-source solution, developed by Indian Health Services (IHS), is well suited to meet the needs of rural, ambulatory clinics. Additionally, MedSphere™ [sic] has developed an open-source derivation of the VA’s Electronic Medical Record system titled OpenVistA, which is currently installed in seven state hospitals. For this project HealtheMountaineer interacts directly with RPMS, and is capable of being integrated with not only the state’s open-source EMR systems, but practically any federally compliant solution.

In order to ensure broad interoperability, the project was created using federally published and widely accepted industry standards. By following guidance provided by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), the PHR uses open standards for participation in Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), supporting the national initiative for the healthcare information sharing.

“Over 1000 West Virginia patients are now enrolled in the pilot project,” said Keith McCall, President of KRM Associates Incorporated. “The cost savings to providers of open-source technologies are clearly demonstrated in West Virginia; this project potentially represents an affordable and nationally adoptable approach to facilitate the meaningful exchange and use of health information. It is our immediate hope to make this solution available to patients and providers throughout the state to demonstrate an effective method of improving healthcare coordination while supporting meaningful use.”

[Click on VistA in WV to access the original article.]