Medicare to test electronic personal health record in S.C.

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By The Staff

Question: With all of the technological advances today, I have been wondering why we are not able to keep up with our health care information and records on the Internet like we do with banking and bills. My wife and I take care of almost everything online since we learned how to do it, and I would love to see this as an option as well.

Will this ever be an option for us in South Carolina?

Answer: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is conducting a pilot project for people with Original (Fee-For-Service) Medicare living in South Carolina. The project, launched in April 2008, provides people with Medicare free access to a safe and secure electronic personal health record called My Personal Health Record South Carolina (MyPHRSC).

The goal of the project is to provide people with Medicare access to an electronic personal health record tool that will help them manage and understand their health information, and at the same time, give them the opportunity to easily share the information with providers, family members and caregivers. An evaluation of the pilot will identify the best methods for outreach and education to encourage adoption and ongoing use of an electronic personal health record.

MyPHRSC is an electronic personal health record that is pre-populated with Medicare claims records for the past 24 months for people with original Medicare. This innovative tool provides those who register with one convenient location to track their Medicare hospitalizations, diagnosed conditions and visits. Additionally, those who register may personalize their information by adding notes and additional health-related information to their record. Registered users are encouraged to add their medications, allergies, non-Medicare related health care services and their own notes. MyPHRSC is available via the Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the end of the pilot project.

Although MyPHRSC provides tools to help beneficiaries better communicate with their health care team, sharing this information is a decision made by each individual. Through a simple authorization process, registered users can allow authorized representatives, such as a provider or family member, to have access to their PHR. Registered users may choose to give authorized representatives full access to their record, or they may choose to limit the information that can be seen.

People with Medicare can create their free PHR at any time by going to www.myphrsc.com on the Web. Signing up for MyPHRSC is easy to do and only takes a few minutes. Eligible individuals for this pilot must have the original Medicare llan and live in South Carolina. They will need Internet access, their Medicare number and some basic personal information to complete the registration process. Providing an e-mail address during registration will yield immediate access to the PHR. Medicare claims data will be transferred into the PHR and available for viewing within 48 hours.

Outreach, in the form of advertising, workshops and local events, is targeted to eight counties in South Carolina. The counties are Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, Saluda, Sumter and Newberry. However, everyone with original (fee-for-service) Medicare living in South Carolina are eligible to create their free PHR through MyPHRSC.

If you have other questions about this program, please call the Office on Aging toll-free at (800) 868-9095. For more information about MyPHRSC, visit www.myphrsc.com or send an e-mail to questions@myphrsc.com.