Intel and Eskaton, an elder care non-profit based in California, recently announced that they will begin investigating the best way to bring Internet-based personal health records to the elderly residents of Eskaton facilities.
To evaluate the usefulness of Internet-based health files, Eskaton is starting a pilot program with some of its residents who volunteered to participate to help them manage their own health and medical information online.
The pilot program features an Internet-based application that enables Eskaton residents and their health care providers to fax medical records to a secure file cabinet on the Internet.
Using a fax machine or PC connected to the Internet, the resident or health care provider can send images of paper files to the repository where the resident will be able to manage their own file, grant access to individuals of their choice and review historic documents.
"Given the rise of chronic conditions and the rapid aging of the population, there has never been a more urgent need to improve health care quality and reduce costs through the use of technology," said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intels Digital Health Group.
The pilot program is expected to last a year and use widely available technologies. It is expected to provide valuable information on usefulness of such systems, and will use current technologies to support this solution,
Much of the program will depend on the willingness of health care providers to add the step of faxing health documents to their current workflow. It will also depend on the quality of images created by available technologies and the usefulness of the content to the resident, and their family, friends and health care providers.
"Many of our residents are computer-savvy and interested in improving processes and how things are done," Eskaton CEO, Todd Murch told eWEEK.
"I am certain that residents will provide Intel with excellent feedback on the usefulness of the Internet health file system."
One resident who enrolled early said, "I like being a part of new things."
Intel is participating in the pilot program by providing the development and support of the application and will also conduct focus groups and surveys regarding usability, usefulness and workflow integration.
Eskaton and Intel are members of the Center for Aging Services Technologies, a national consortium of senior service providers, technology companies and researchers that collaborate to deploy and develop technologies aimed at improving the aging experience in America.