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Personal Health Records

Personal Health Records


In 2004, President Bush announced that all citizens would have access to electronic medical records in 10 years.  The potential of health information technology to improve people's health and the functioning of the health care system is enormous.  To this end, there is increasing interest in the consumer's role in his or her own health care and health care management.  The Personal Health Record (PHR) is an adjunct tool related to the provider based electronic medical record.  In its ideal form, it would be a lifelong resource of health information used by individuals to make health care decisions, and to enable them to share information with their providers.  While a uniform, standard definition does not yet exist of a PHR, consistent applications for PHRs are beginning to emerge.  The ideal is for a PHR to provide a complete summary of an individual's health and medical history with information gathered from many sources, including self entries.  Personal Health Records will have stringent controls to protect the privacy and security of the information, and individuals will have control over who has access to the information.  Today, Personal Health Records are offered by health plans, providers, and independent vendors.  Standards are being developed and the tools will continue to evolve along with all of the health information technologies under way.

Medicare-Encouraging Beneficiary Use of Personal Health Records

In June 2007, CMS initiated a new pilot project to encourage Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of Internet-based tools to track their health care services and provide them with other resources to better communicate with their providers. The project is expected to run for eighteen months and will enable certain beneficiaries to access and use a Personal Health Record (PHR) provided through participating health plans, and accessible through www.Mymedicare.gov. CMS will collect data to assess the use, usability, and feature preferences of the tools.  For additional information on the Medicare testing beneficiary use of PHR project, see the Frequently Asked Questions link in the "Related Links Inside CMS" section below.

Feasibility Test of Using Claims Data to populate Personal Health Records

In July 2006, CMS awarded contracts to two organizations to test the feasibility of using Medicare claims data to populate Personal Health Records.  One of the goals of the test was to determine if Medicare claims history information could be successfully imported into an Internet-based tool.    

The six month contracts were awarded to ViPS, using the WebMD tool, and Capstone Government Solutions, using the SharedHealth tool.  The total cost of the project was $500,000. 

For more information, see the link in the "Related Links Inside CMS" section below.

Summary of Personal Health Record (PHR) RFI Responses 

In 2005, CMS requested information regarding a role for CMS with Personal Health Records.  CMS received over fifty responses and prepared a report summarizing the information received.  Note that these are the views of the respondents, not necessarily the views of CMS.  CMS has been using this information to assist us in developing our strategy for CMS's participation in fostering the development of PHRs for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.  To view this summary, see the link in the Downloads section below.

For industry resources on PHR, please see the links in the "Related Links Outside CMS" section below.


SummaryofPersonalHealthRecord(PHR)RFI Responses[PDF, 299KB]

Related Links Inside CMS


Related Links Outside CMSExternal Linking Policy






Page Last Modified: 08/06/2008 5:07:13 PM
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