A few years ago, cost, privacy concerns, design shortcomings and trouble sharing information across different health systems were deemed the most critical barriers to widespread adoption of electronic personal health records (PHRs) by a paper in the Health Affairs journal.
This week, a new low-cost, interoperable, untethered, user-controlled mobile platform launched with the hope of tackling those barriers and finding success in the scarred PHR market.
While many PHRs are Web-based or tied to a health system’s EMR system, PocketHealth lets users store all of their data locally on their phones and allows them to easily maintain records from different health systems.
While there are other mobile-based PHRs (i.e., motionPHR), Cognovant co-founder Joe Ketcherside said PocketHealth is differentiated by the fact that he and his business partner, Stan Pestotnik, built it based on their years of experience working in health IT.
“We’ve taken the data standards that are used to build EMRs and incorporated them into the architecture of the system we’ve developed,” he said. “We wanted to build an enterprise strength product and make it available to individuals to put it on a mobile device so they always have it with them.”
That “industrial strength,” as Ketcherside calls it, enables the platform to transmit data to EMRs that have the capability of importing a Continuity of Care Document (part of Stage 1 Meaningful Use). It’s also user friendly, he said, using smart searches and pick lists to make entering information easier for users.
Ketcherside cites three factors in the decision to enter the PHR market: the increase in penetration of mobile devices, the increase in penetration of wireless connectivity, and the patient empowerment movement. Even post-Revolution Health and post-Google Health, he doesn’t buy the lack-of-interest in PHRs argument. “Eighty percent of American people say that they do have a personal health record,” Ketcherside said. “But about 90 percent of them are stacks of paper that they have in a file somewhere.”
A 2011 Frost & Sullivan study pegged the PHR market at a value of $312 million and forecast that revenue would increase to reach $414 million in 2015, driven by the digitization of medical information and push toward Meaningful Use standards.
PocketHealth plans to generate revenue from advertising and in-app upgrades. The most basic app, PocketHealth Essentials, is free. A 99 cent upgrade removes the advertisements and adds capabilities to help manage certain conditions, like the ability to store lab and radiology results. To keep records for more than one person, there’s a 3.99 upgrade to PocketHealth Family. Ketcherside said the platform will eventually be a more robust tool with features to manage specific conditions.
“Stan and I spent our careers trying to make healthcare safer and smarter,” he said. “The big gap we saw is we had these wonderful robust systems with health providers, but it wasn’t connecting to the patient.”