The PHR you create and maintain with HealthVault could have important health information, some of which you may want to share with your healthcare providers. While you can give family and other personal caregivers access to your PHR, there are some important issues wich need to be considered when it comes to giving and sharing access it with healthcare professionals, including your physicians.
In particular, HealthVault accounts are not offered for professional or non-personal use. This was discussed in a scenario in a 2011 HealthVault FAQ blog which concluded:
“As shown above, the Shell provides a method for a user to share their record with another person. However, HealthVault accounts are not offered for professional or non-personal use. This is a very good way to let relatives or friends help manage health information, for example a family member who needs to control the health information of a child or aging parent. When sharing the data, the user can specify the access level, which includes read access, the ability to view and modify, and full access as a custodian. Additionally, a user can control which data types will be shared, and whether there is an expiration date on the shared access. The sharing feature does not prevent the user from sending a sharing invitation to anyone they choose, including their doctor. Once the doctor receives the sharing invitation, they would have the ability to accept it, open a personal account, and see the user’s shared data in their own HealthVault account. Though this satisfies the basic data sharing function, it violates HealthVault’s service terms, and this shouldn’t be used as a solution for this scenario. Let us discuss the reasons in the next section.
“Sharing data directly through the HealthVault Shell addresses certain security and privacy concerns for account-holders, as the Shell includes access control features described above.
“A deeper look, however, reveals a number of concerns with this method. First, this scenario requires the physician to have a HealthVault account and Live ID of their own and use this account as part of healthcare service. This use case does not fall within HealthVault’s terms of service and is not acceptable for any HealthVault integration. In addition, most healthcare organizations would have other requirements for their information management systems. For example, as a personal service for consumers, Microsoft doesn’t act as a business associate under HIPAA in connection with HealthVault records, and doesn’t include the kind of data management features that a healthcare practice would want to help control its operation.”
It is worth noting that in at least one instance, and probably more, Microsoft has partnered with a HealthVault-enabled mobile device developer on a project in which health information in HealthVault was to be used for non-personal, professional purposes.
“The Seton Microsoft® HealthVault™ Pilot Initiative is a partnership with the Seton Family of Hospitals, Microsoft, Cerner, and LifeScan (OneTouch).
“The Seton HealthVault Pilot Program will involve the patient monitoring and taking his/her blood glucose levels at multiple times throughout the day as they normally would. Once a day, the patient will connect their OneTouch meter to their home pc, utilizing the supplied interface cable, and will upload their results to HealthVault through a process that takes less than five minutes. Patients will allow the Seton Electronic Health Record (EHR), operated by Cerner Millennium for the Seton Family of Hospitals and Dell’s Children’s Medical Center, to access that information from their accounts. Once this information is received into Cerner Millennium, it will be attached to the patients EHR. The Provider and Clinical staff will be able to review these results and take the appropriate action.” More…
Other Means of Sharing with Providers
Note also that the issue discussed in the HealthVault FAQ blog concerns direct access of the information in the HealthVault PHR for professional, non-personal use. However, there are other means by which the information in your HealthVault PHR may be shared with healthcare professionals. Among them are apps which you can use to produce information to share in printed or file formats. For example, Heart360 enables you to output reports for printing on paper or to files (e.g., PDF), and the iBlueButton app enables you to download BlueButton data from other sources and share those data in a file in a TXT or PDF format with healthcare professionals.