Tangles in medical web-slinging

A stethoscope sitting on a laptop

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: It'd be nice if you could access your health care records at home on your computer. Some companies have actually started doing this for their employees -- Wal-Mart and Intel, for example. But getting other companies in the mix will not be easy. Helen Palmer has more from our Health Desk at WGBH.


Helen Palmer: Intel's Anne Chapman says right now, medical information's mostly on paper and scattered around. Creating a one-stop shop on the web is a monumental task.

Anne Chapman: We've had the difficulties that you always have when you're trying to innovate / do something that hasn't been done before.

Under the program the employers have now adopted, a patient will be able to see his cholesterol scores, or get a prescription refilled, or see when he's due for a tetanus shot on his home computer.

And it's really easy to use, says Kenneth Mandl of Boston Children's Hospital's Informatics program.

Kenneth Mandl: The patient uses it something like Quicken, where data that exists at outside sources can be brought together in an integrated way.

Mandl says the patient controls the record and access to it. Privacy's protected because records are encrypted. Employers and insurance companies won't be able to snoop.

In Boston, I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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