Time For A Better PHR Model — How About Mint.com?

Posted on March 14, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Tonight, I checked out the always-interesting #HITsm TweetChat, which attracted a nice group of informed HIT experts. (It takes place from 8PM to 9PM Central Time on Mondays — I highly recommend you attend sometime.)

While the conversation wandered, as professional chats always do, one theme that came up a few times was the importance of PHRs in the overall healthcare data picture. I watched with interest, since I’m a real PHR skeptic and wondered if anyone had a  breakthrough idea on the subject.

One poster — if I understood him correctly — noted that while he didn’t trust Google or Microsoft PHRs, he’d manage his own health data gladly if it was stored on a very secure, easy-to-populate tool like financial site Mint.com.  I thought this was a tremendously good idea.

For those who haven’t used it, Mint.com allows consumers to suck data from bank and credit card accounts, loans and more into a single interface, making it easy to check on and edit the data with a few clicks.  Not only that, it allows you to create analytical charts, monitor for problems and set goals.  Just imagine how useful those functions could be for personal health maintenance.

Having used Mint.com happily for my personal finances, I yearn for the day when health data is equally accessible and manageable.  It’s easy to imagine — though admittedly, a tall order technically — interesting consumers in building out PHRs if they had access to a simple interface and secure connections to all needed data.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any PHR that’s quite this sophisticated. Is it time for Intuit (Mint’s owner) to go into the PHR business?