Medicare Pilot Offers Beneficiaries Chance to Maintain their own Personal Health Records

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Medicare PHR Choice Pilot in Arizona and Utah. This pilot program will offer beneficiaries with Original Medicare the opportunity to choose one of the personal health record (PHR) products offered by the companies selected for the pilot. PHRs will allow beneficiaries to maintain their health record information electronically and Medicare will add claims data directly to the PHRs for this pilot. PHRs are tools that can help consumers keep track of information that will make it easier to manage their health and health care services. A PHR is a record of health information that is under the control of the consumer. Sometimes it only contains data entered by the individual, but it can also include information from his or her provider or from a health plan as in this pilot, where, if the consumer requests it, Medicare will transfer health information from its claims database directly to the individual’s PHR. Through this pilot, beneficiaries who select one of the PHRs offered by the participating PHR vendors can choose to add additional personal health information to supplement the information provided by Medicare. 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 medicines and medical devices, health education information, and applications that 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 access can allow caregivers to help manage a loved one’s health or provide information that could be important to a physician caring for you in an emergency. More information about the Medicare PHR choice pilot can be found on