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Inform Health Soc Care. 2010 Sep-Dec;35(3-4):188-99. doi: 10.3109/17538157.2010.528635.

Independent health record banks for older people--the ultimate integration of dispersed and disparate medical records.

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IBM Research Labs, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel.


Older people have more health issues and use more healthcare services than young people. Consequently, many more records are created by various healthcare providers when they document the care they provided to the older person. The law in most countries requires the healthcare provider to persist the records for a certain amount of time. Thus, as time progresses, it becomes more challenging to integrate at the point of care the dispersed and disparate data sets created by the various providers and relate to the same older person. In addition to the data representation disparities, most often those data sets overlap and contradict and cannot be easily used by the clinician during the relatively short time dedicated to the care encounter/service. A possible solution to this challenge is to have lifelong electronic health records sustained by new players in the healthcare arena--Independent Health record Banks (IHRBs), which function as the sole record keepers of individual's health records. This article explores implications of the IHRB vision to the older people and argues that IHRBs offer the ultimate integration of health data for the older people to whom availability of complete medical history is crucial to getting better care.

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