HHS panel recommends PHR certification despite dissention
The American Health Information Community (AHIC), an advisory panel to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), voted unanimously in favor of recommending certification for personal health records (PHRs), even though workgroup members dissented because of privacy protection issues.

At an AHIC meeting simultaneously web cast from Washington, D.C. and California, five AHIC consumer empowerment workgroup members said it is too early for government involvement in PHRs, and that they want policy developed first.

Nancy Davenport-Ennis, CEO of the National Patient Advocate Foundation and an AHIC member supported the recommendation saying that early establishment of certification could provide a floor that would help push development of PHRs through. But the hard part is getting the public motivated to gather all the information to enter into a PHR, said Colin Evans, director of policy standards at Intel.

HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt, presiding over the AHIC meeting, said there are many parts of the puzzle we are trying to adopt, and PHRs will clearly be a major part of it. The technical side will be more significant than policy, but we should keep working on both of them.