Who owns your medical data?

StethosocopeYou know the file folders that line walls behind the receptionist at your doctor’s office? The ones with the first three letters of the last name in alphabetical order? That’s where your data is. Who owns it?

Your doctor does.

How many doctors, specialists or therapists have you seen in your lifetime? Do you know what that means? Dotted around the cities you’ve lived, little snippets of your medical past are owned by a bunch of people you don’t know very well. And you know what else? If you go to the doctor today with what turns out is a chronic illness that has been sneaking up on you for years, it’ll take your doctor weeks to pinpoint it.

So what if the world changed?

What if you owned your medical data? What if every time you walked into a doctor’s office you could hand them a sheet of paper, printed from your home computer, or send them to a secure website where you’ve given them access to your personal health record and they instantly knew every facet of your medical history?

Now here’s where this gets good …

What if they not only had snapshots of you when you were sick through the years (what current medical records mostly offer) but had a lifestream of knowledge of your physical, mental and emotional health dating back as far as you did? And what if you could not only own your medical data and continually add to it in states of wellness and not? What if you could find information to help guide your health decisions that, compared to a search, was like comparing a gnat to an elephant?

The future is now.

Sprigley is a brand new software platform, now in Alpha and unveiled to the world exclusively here on SocialMediaExplorer.com. What it does is, for the first time, gives your personal health record to you.

But it’s so much more than just appendectomy scars and cholesterol counts. What Sprigley does is combine your personal health record with a lifespan aggregation of physical, psychological and behavioral data you supply and with social media tools to enable you to make smarter health decisions. It is data portability on a whole new level.

In a two-part video series (both parts below), I sat down with Melanie and Joshua Rosenthal, the husband-wife duo behind Sprigley, to find out what the software is and how it can potentially change health care as we know it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmweWpapabY[/youtube]

After showing it off, we talked more about the software.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9e6U8lEaq4[/youtube]

Social Media Explorer readers now have exclusive first dibs on this software and the Rosenthal’s are anxious to start getting feedback. Go to Sprigley.com and find the contact form (or click here). Send them a note saying you want to join the Alpha and start owning your personal health. They’ll sign you up and you can help them move this software to Beta.

And the Rosenthal’s have my eternal thanks for giving you this exclusive opportunity.

Perhaps I’m playing the wide-eyed optimist here, but the notion struck me that this type of Personal Health Record (PHR) overlay — one that aggregates important data, better informing you and your health care provider and then additionally uses social media tools to enable you to see what care and options those like you have chosen and how satisfied they were — might just be the magic bullet.

  • Medial Practitioners — Approach each patient with volumes more data at hand, enabling faster, more accurate diagnoses which means a higher patient load and, thus, higher profits.
  • Hospitals & Clinics — Similar benefits to medical practitioners but with less paperwork and less administrative costs, thus, higher profits.
  • Insurance Providers and HMOs — Faster, more accurate diagnoses mean contained costs. For those HMO folks out there, that means higher profits. (Did I say that slowly enough for you?)
  • And then there’s us, the patients — We have a more complete understanding of our health, or lack thereof. We make smarter self-care decisions. We see preventative measures when we need to see them not when it’s too late. We don’t have to sit in a waiting room for 45 minutes filling out forms. (That alone makes it worth it to me.)

Does anybody lose?

Granted, my understanding of the health care system is limited to the notion I’ve always had to pay way too much to get way to little, except for whatever we paid when my son was born. The care he and my wife got was worth every dime. I play in social media all day, so I’m not wholly qualified to tell you what is wrong with the health care system, or what is even right with it or with Sprigley.

So you tell me. Does this hold the promise I see? The comments are yours and the Alpha awaits. Go sign up.

Other Posts You’ll Find Interesting:

  1. Health Care Or Health Snare?
  2. Microsoft Beats Google To Online Health Records With HealthVault
  3. Taking The Temperature Of Google Health
  4. miVitals Takes Aim At Tough Online Health Market
  5. What Jenny McCarthey Can Teach Us About Behavior Change And Data

IMAGE: “Stethoscope” by happysnappr on Flickr.

[tags]personal health record, HeathVault, Google Health, Sprigley, health care system, health care, doctors, medical profession, HMOs, health insurance[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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