Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

October 28, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Health Record Bank


  • eHealthTrust is a health record bank that recently launched its service in Arizona. Dr. Bill Yasnoff, the company‚Äôs founder, explains the benefits of health record banking.
Guests:
  • Dr. Bill Yasnoff - Founder, eHealthTrust
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Electronic medical records may be the wave of the future, and at least one company is catching that wave in Arizona. This month e-Health trust launched its health record banking business in the Phoenix area. For a one-time fee of $99, the company promises its members a secure, electronic safe deposit box for their memo records. Members control who gets access to those records, and eventually the company will offer automatic updates whenever new medical records are generated. In a moment we'll hear from the founder of e-Health trust, but first, David Majure spoke with an early adopter of the company's Services.

Laura Holgate:
You have no idea how much I have to do to keep track of my -- all the medical issues that I have going on.

David Majure:
Laura Holgate is a former nurse and a mother of three children ages 9, 12, and 14, all with special needs.

Laura Holgate:
For Maggie, for Nicholas.

David Majure:
Just keeping track of their medications is a constant challenge.


Laura Holgate:
And then we have the pharmacy.All of them are on many, many meds, and have many doctors' appointments, and visits, and surgeries.

David Majure:
Her 12-year-old son has a serious medical condition. He's had surgeries all over the country.

Laura Holgate:
It is just a daunting task to have to keep everything current for him. Because every time guy to a doctor's office, I have to bring his list of diagnosis, what he's had done, his chart is this thick at Phoenix children's hospital. So -- but they don't have the records from Boston, San Francisco, all those places. So to get this all in one place would be awesome for me.

David Majure:
To better manage her family's medical information, Holgate signed up for e-Health trust after a friend who works for the company told her about it.

Laura Holgate:
It will be worth it if I don't have to spend so much time collating information for my children and keeping track of it.

David Majure:
Soon her family's medical records will be stored on servers in a huge Phoenix warehouse. She'll control which records are deposited there. And who is authorized to withdraw the information.

Laura Holgate:
If people are comfortable using online banking, then this is really similar to that.


Ted Simons:
Here to talk about health record banking is Dr. Bill Yasnoff, the founder of e-Health trust. He's an adjunct professor of health sciences informTiCS at Johns Hopkins University and he's worked for the federal government on efforts to establish a national health information infrastructure. All your health records, electronically filed in one place. Concerns over security?

Dr. William Yasnoff:
Sure. Obviously our health records are probably the most sensitive information about us there is. And so clearly everyone wants them to be secure, and private. And that's what we do. We make them secure by putting them in a secure data center, we use the same types of computer security techniques that the banks use for your online banking information. And then in terms of privacy, you control who sees your records. You set your own privacy policy.

Ted Simons:
So basically if I ask you who mass access to all of my medical records, you ask me, who has access to all your medical records.

Dr. William Yasnoff:
Exactly. Whoever you say has access.

Ted Simons:
What about the concept, let's talk about just selling information. For research purposes, for other purposes. How much of that goes on?

Dr. William Yasnoff:
So your information in the health record bank is yours. We do not do anything with it unless you consent to it specifically. But clearly, having that information available in the aggregate, non-identified, is fantastically valuable for research. So when you become a member, we ask you if you would like your data included in those non-identified summaries that we can provide, and of course we generate revenue from that and we share that revenue with you.

Ted Simons:
The interesting -- the -- what about insurance companies, what about drug companies, these sorts of things?

Dr. William Yasnoff:
If you authorize it, it's available. If you do not authorize it, it is not available.

Ted Simons:
Here's one for you. What about paper-based documents? You've still got guys that are based -- they don't want to touch the medical -- electronics. What happens if our doctor is paper-based.

Dr. William Yasnoff:
Most doctors still have paper records. And this is a problem, and so part of our program is to provide free electronic medical records to physicians so that they can then deposit the electronic records in the health record bank. Now, while physicians still have paper records, we can take those records and we can put pictures of them in the health record bank. But clearly, that's not as good because the computer can't really process and organize that information.

Ted Simons:
Is it the kind of situation, and you say, I've got a doctor here, a specialist there, I want them to all know what's going on so I give them access. All of a sudden I'm not crazy about this doctor, I'm going to change, or I don't want this doctor -- once the window, the portal opens, is I -- and I close it, doesn't it all fly out and it's all out there anyway?

Dr. William Yasnoff:
Here's the situation. You can decide any time to stop anyone's access. But if you have provided that access in the past, what you have allowed that doctor to see, then becomes part of that doctor's record. And that doctor has to be able to keep that to justify the decisions that were made. But any new information would no longer be accessible because you've closed the door.

Ted Simons:
OK. Arizona, trailblazer in this? How did that happen?

Dr. William Yasnoff:
Arizona is the very first large-scale health record bank in the nation. And we came to Arizona for several reasons. First of all, the health care community is very innovative. And has been on the cutting edge of looking at this problem and understanding this problem. Second, people here are very independent minded and are willing to try something new. The third reason is, there are many tourist and snow birds here who have a need to have all their records in one place if they happen to get sick or injured while they're here.

Ted Simons:
The stimulus program, President Obama's stimulus program mentioned information infrastructure electronic, infrastructure specifically. Lots of money being funneled for this effort. Helping your situation?

Dr. William Yasnoff:
Yes and no. Most of that money has not yet been spent. But there are substantial incentives to physicians to convert to electronic medical records. We are adding to that, and we are synergistic with that program by providing free electronic records to Doc and they can use that incentive money are terror cover the one-time conversion costs they have. Look, Ted, when a physician converts to electronic records, typically they have three to six months where they can only see a fraction of the number of patients they normally see because the system slows them down. That hurts their revenue. So that stimulus money can help to make up for that, but if they still have to pay for the electronic record system, that's a problem. We eliminate that problem.

Ted Simons:
Last question, about 30 seconds, why has health information lagged as far as technology is concerned?



Dr. William Yasnoff:
Health is a very -- health information is very complex. And it's mostly been on paper, there hasn't been an incentive for folks to convert to electronic, and we haven't had the technology we need to make all the reports available when and where they're needed.

Ted Simons:
All right. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Dr. William Yasnoff:
Thanks for having me.

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