BARMER research study to reveal benefits and acceptance of personal health records
Wuppertal/Dusseldorf (November 14, 2007) – BARMER wants to investigate the benefits and acceptance of personal health records in a 3-year research study. This is what Germany's largest health insurance fund announced today at the MEDICA in Dusseldorf. "We are investigating an instrument that helps to bundle a large volume of scattered health information. In doing so, we will not only eliminate a source of intransparency, but also promote responsible health care among our members", emphasizes Birgit Fischer, Deputy Chairwoman of the Board at BARMER. The personal health record will be available to the seven million BARMER members as of the middle of December, provided they have a PC with Internet connection.
The research study is managed by the Cologne care researcher Dr. med. Hanna Kirchner, assisted by a highly competent scientific council. "Previous studies dealt with electronic medical records maintained by physicians. We want to investigate or the first time the benefits of a personal health record that can be maintained by BARMER members online and how this changes their attitude towards their health. Assisting the patients with their personal health management is at the center of focus here", explains Kirchner.
The technological basis of the BARMER personal health record is the LifeSensor technology, developed by InterComponentWare AG (ICW), Walldorf, which was selected as technology partner for the research study. "Both the record owner as well as authorized persons, e.g. physicians, can enter content in the patients' personal health record with their permission and use the health information", is how Peter Reuschel, CEO of ICW, describes the flexibility of the technology, which best met the extensive demands posed by BARMER.
In ideal cases, the personal health record can accompany a person throughout his or her whole life. It turns into a veritable "personal health memory" for families with children and chronically ill persons. People taking care of sick family members could profit just as well as participants in the bonus programs offered by BARMER or traveling senior citizens wanting to access their data anywhere in the world. Only the insured person can manage his/her personal health record. Data from service providers, like medical reports or laboratory results, can easily be transferred per fax or e-mail to the record or be uploaded directly. "This offers new possibilities to physicians, pharmacists, hospitals and all other service providers for targeted patient orientation", emphasizes Birgit Fischer. Among the features, which can be used right from the start, are a reminder service for physician's appointments and preventive medical checkups. A library offers a veritable treasure of health information; medication can be checked for dangerous interactions with other drugs of the patient. The personal health record will be compatible with the electronic health card. Further expansion stages are e.g. the import of data from BARMER databases or modules for special needs, e.g. those of mothers, fathers and their children. "The electronic personal health record is available at a special price for BARMER members: 23.80 € per year for individuals, 11.90 € for insured family members – this is only a fraction of what people normally have to pay for a personal health record", explains Birgit Fischer.
The BARMER personal health record meets the highest data protection and data security demands. Recently, the underlying record application was awarded the data protection seal of approval ips (internet privacy standards) for the third time. BARMER personal health record users profit from these high standards, which ensure the secure handling of the record.
Interested BARMER members can obtain the personal health record via the Internet page www.barmer.de as of Mid-December.