(COLLEGE STATION) – Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System, is taking a leading role in conjunction with a groundbreaking initiative to create a personal health record for every American.
Dr. Dickey will serve as chair of a new not-for-profit advisory board comprised of health care leaders that has been formed to assist Medem, a leading national physician-patient communication network, in ensuring protection of patient privacy as it launches a secure, interactive, personal health record for every American known as iHealthRecord. This new service has been developed in conjunction with leading U.S. medical societies, the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, CDC, FDA and other centers of expertise.
Medem has created iHealthRecord to make vital personal health data available to physicians or emergency departments, including current medical conditions, medications, past surgeries and allergies as well as end-of-life directives. Based on firm standards for information quality and accuracy, iHealthRecord, as Medem notes in a recent announcement of the initiative, provides a suite of unique services to increase medication adherence, enhance continuity of care and improve patient-physician communication. Through iHealthRecord, patients can electronically connect more closely with their physicians, receive education about their medical conditions and automated reminders regarding their medications and conditions, and learn about safety warnings and recalls. The service allows health information to be updated by patients themselves, by their physician’s electronic medical records systems or by their health plan.
Dr. Dickey will lead the advisory group dedicated to ensuring that the iHealthRecord system protects patient privacy. Privacy and confidentiality are obviously important aspects of any such comprehensive record system, and iHealthRecord allows patients to control who can view their records and provides a history of each use of the records. Dr. Dickey notes: “The iHealthRecord is a truly unique service that provides both a critical step forward and a cornerstone to the nation’s efforts to empower patients and improve medicine using information technology.”
American Medical Association Chairman J. James Rohack, M.D., who is also director of the Center for Health Care Policy, medical director for system improvement at the Scott & White Health Plan and professor of internal medicine at the A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine’s clinical campus at Scott & White in Temple, says, “The AMA is committed to improving patient safety, enhancing healthcare quality and strengthening the patient-physician bond through the use of appropriate technology. We believe that electronic personal health records are an important service for physicians and patients, and a key element of the national IT infrastructure.”
More than 10,000 Americans have built their iHealthRecords in a matter of weeks since the service was made available on a limited basis. The iHealthRecord is now available to anyone in the U.S., at no cost, from more than 90,000 physician practice web sites, from leading physicians groups and via http://www.ihealthrecord.org . Patients can search for physicians who offer the iHealthRecord service at the provider directories of most major U.S. health plans.

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