Hospital Pioneers New "Personal" Electronic Health Record

The new records system offers patients the ability to select and store personal medical information generated during their doctor and hospital visits at New York-Presbyterian.

by / April 6, 2009
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Photo: Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

In an era when an increasing number of patients use the Internet to augment doctor's information and advice on physical aliments, New York-Presbyterian Hospital has moved this trend to another level with the launch of -- a new electronic personal health record, enabling its patients to access their medical information wherever and whenever the want.

The new records system offers patients the ability to select and store personal medical information generated during their doctor and hospital visits at New York-Presbyterian. The hospital describes it as a "pull model," meaning it allows patients to proactively opt to copy their medical data into their own personal health record and access that information using a secure username and password with any Web-enabled device.

"The personal health record represents a significant step in the journey to create a completely connected health care system, from hospital to community, with the patient at the center," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian in a press statement. "When patients can easily share their medical record with their physician or hospital, it reduces the need for excess paperwork and testing, which could mean lower costs, improved outcomes, reduction in medical errors and better care." offers the individual the ability to consolidate and organize an unprecedented amount of medical information -- medications; surgery reports; hospital discharge instructions; laboratory, radiology and EKG results; immunization schedule and history; allergy information; doctor and insurance information; emergency contacts and more. The health information provided by is annotated with customized explanations to help patients understand their medical tests and procedures and give them additional information about normal and abnormal results.

"Increasingly patients are taking charge of their own health care. gives them the tools to accomplish this -- empowering them to effectively and efficiently manage all aspects of their health and wellness," Dr. Steven J. Corwin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the hospital, adds in the statement. "This technology not only gives patients access to their health information, but puts them in the driver's seat, with complete control to take their information with them, add to it, and share it with family, with other doctors and health care providers, and anyone they choose."

According to the hospital, patients will also be able to coordinate doctors' appointments; develop a directory of physician contacts; manage their children's health records; comply with school and childcare-provider health record requirements; give custodial access to primary care physicians; and search for specialists through the system.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital worked with Microsoft to develop using Microsoft software. Microsoft Amalga aggregates vast amounts of clinical, administrative and financial data from disparate information systems at the hospital and tailors that information for use by physicians, analysts, laboratory technicians, nurses and administrators. Microsoft's HealthVault is an open platform which the company says puts individuals in control of their personal health information.

President Obama, other government leaders and several members of Congress have said electronic patient record systems are key to achieving significant advances in improved quality and efficiency in the nation's health care system. "The introduction of demonstrates that we can innovate today -- using technology already in place -- to deliver on many of the goals targeted by the new administration's stimulus spending," pointed out Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft Health Solutions Group. "New York-Presbyterian has shown real leadership in delivering an innovative solution that empowers both physicians and patients by giving them instant access to critical information. This type of leadership and focus on using technology to drive specific outcomes is paramount to improving health around the world."

New York-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments -- more than any other area hospital.


Blake Harris Contributing Editor