Public health in an era of personal health records: opportunities for innovation and new partnerships.
J Med Internet Res. 2010 Aug 10;12(3):e33. Bonander J, Gates S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.
In the near future, citizens will be able to control and manage their own health information through electronic personal health record systems and tools. The clinical benefits of this innovation, such as cost savings, error reduction, and improved communication, have been discussed in the literature and public forums, as have issues related to privacy and confidentiality. Receiving little attention are the benefits these will have for public health. The benefits and potential for innovation are broad and speak directly to core public health functions such as health monitoring, outbreak management, empowerment, linking to services, and research. Coupled with this is a new relationship with citizens as key partners in protecting and promoting the public's health.