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Q&A: Kaiser Permanente's CIO on Technology's Role in Redefining Healthcare

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 23, 2013

The second point of view on this is, I think electronic medical records, given the content, is consistent with and from doctors, and really aligns with the treatment of patients, is the best resource for the start of PHR.

And then having the tools to integrate how much I walk, what I eat, and all of the other aspects of health that are important to me from a personal perspective, those are beginning to emerge and have emerged just recently, that really will enable a true PHR capability for patients, that will empower patients to both interact with their health in different ways, and leverage the content of electronic medical records.

But then the bridge has to be built between electronic medical records and personal health information, so that patients can be empowered in that way, and I think mobile capabilities, the connectivity that's being demonstrated across the board, starts to become the bridge to that future.

I think Google might have been a little early in the capabilities they were bringing forward, and they were quite rudimentary in terms of how they were planning to connect them. They were really trying to get the industry to do it. The consumer will naturally go there, but I think it has to be based on electronic medical records, and the merging of that information with the consumer's view of their health as well.

HealthLeaders: And cloud technology is maturing too.

Fasano: It sure is.

HealthLeaders: So we're getting to the point where we can put HIPAA stuff up in the cloud and not be worried about it.

Fasano: Well, as the CIO of Kaiser Permanente, I wouldn't say that. My point of view on putting private health information up in the cloud is that I don't think the cloud is necessarily really ready for that yet, and I say that as having a responsibility to our patients for managing their privacy with respect to their health information.

If they choose to do that, they make a personal decision about whether or not they accept the cloud. That's different from Kaiser Permanente choosing to do that, which we're not ready to do, because I can't get a vendor of cloud capabilities to give me a guarantee on security, and I think the real challenge today, and we all talk about this, is [that] cybersecurity, just overall, that topic is out and about.

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