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News

ICW to help German health insurance fund study personal health record benefits

InterComponentWare : 14 November, 2007  (New Product)
Barmer, Germany's largest health insurance fund, has announced plans to investigate the benefits and acceptance of personal health records in a three-year research study.
'We are investigating an instrument that helps to bundle a large volume of scattered health information. In doing so, we will not only eliminate asource of in transparency, but also promote responsible health care among our members', emphasised Birgit Fischer, deputy chairwoman of the board at Barmer.

The personal health record will be available to the seven million Barmer members as of the middle of December 2007, provided they have a PC with Internet connection.

Cologne care researcher, Dr med Hanna Kirchner is managing the research study with the assistance of a scientific council.

'Previous studies dealt with electronic medical records maintained by physicians. We want to investigate for the first time the benefits of a personal health record that can be maintained by Barmer members online and how this changes their attitude towards their health. Assisting the patients with their personal health management is at the centre of focus here', explained Kirchner.

The technological basis of the Barmer personal health record is the LifeSensor technology, developed by InterComponentWare (ICW), Walldorf, which was selected as technology partner for the research study.

'Both the record owner as well as authorised persons, such as physicians, can enter content in the patients' personal health record with their permission and use the health information', is how Peter Reuschel, CEO of ICW, describes the flexibility of the technology, which best met the extensive demands posed by Barmer.

In ideal cases, the personal health record can accompany a person throughout his or her whole life. It turns into a ‘personal health memory’ for families with children and chronically ill persons.

People taking care of sick family members could profit just as well as participants in the bonus programmes offered by Barmer or travelling senior citizens wanting to access their data anywhere in the world. Only the insured person can manage his/her personal health record.

Data from service providers, like medical reports or laboratory results, can easily be transferred per fax or email to the record or be uploaded directly.

'This offers new possibilities to physicians, pharmacists, hospitals and all other service providers for targeted patient orientation', emphasised Fischer.

Among the features, which can be used right from the start, are a reminder service for physician's appointments and preventive medical checkups. A library offers a veritable treasure of health information; medication can be checked for dangerous interactions with other drugs of the patient. The personal health record will be compatible with the electronic health card. Further expansion stages include the import of data from Barmer databases or modules for special needs, such as those of mothers, fathers and their children. 'The electronic personal health record is available at a special price for Barmer members: Euros 23.80 per year for individuals, Euros 11.90 for insured family members – this is only a fraction of what people normally have to pay for a personal health record', explained Fischer.

The Barmer personal health record meets the highest data protection and data security demands. Recently, the underlying record application was awarded the data protection seal of approval ips (internet privacy standards) for the third time. Barmer personal health record users profit from these high standards, which ensure the secure handling of the record.
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