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September 2008

Washington State Funds Health Record Bank (HRB) Pilot Programs

On August 20, 2008 the Washington State Health Care Authority announced that they have awarded three grants totaling $1.7 million to communities that will implement consumer managed health record banks (HRB). These pilot HRBs will work in partnership with Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health and will be managed by consumers who will be able to view, organize, and add to their medical records. The HRBs are intended to be a tool for both doctors and patients seeking to coordinate patient care.

The pilot projects are designed to test the potential impact of HRBs on patient care.  The overall goals are to:

  1. Create a mechanism for consumers in Washington State to sign up for HRB accounts that are electronically populated with copies of high value information from their health records from various sources.
  2. Ensure consumers can access, use, verify and make notations to this information, as well as add new information of their choosing.
  3. Enable consumers to manage when, how, and with whom they will share all or part of the contents of their HRB accounts.[1]

State officials from the Authority hope to learn several things from these pilots. First, they hope to learn more about what policies, protections and incentives need to be in place to make HRBs effective, and what information in the HRB is of highest value and utility. They also are interested in learning more about how to earn the trust of both doctors and consumers. Finally, they are looking to see whether HRBs can also be a tool for population and public health programs.

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