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Duke University Takes Steps to Advance Consumer-driven Electronic Health Records

July 26, 2004

DURHAM, N.C. - Duke University 's Fuqua School of Business and School of Medicine have moved quickly to advance an electronic health record initiative announced in March 2004 by establishing a non-profit foundation to oversee the venture, appointing an expanded leadership team and creating a new name and communications theme.

In designing the Health Record Network, Duke leaders envision a service that will provide to clinical systems across the country anywhere/anytime access to patient health information. This, in turn, is expected to improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs.

Incorporated as the Health Record Network Foundation (HRN), the non-profit organization is dedicated to building consumer understanding, acceptance and demand for personal electronic health records. As this demand develops, the Health Record Network will provide an online service for consumers to create their own individual health records.

"The market reaction to our concept of consumer-driven electronic health records has been encouraging," said Douglas T. Breeden, Fuqua's dean.

"We are proud to formally establish the Health Record Network Foundation as a national resource for innovation in healthcare through information technology -– an undertaking that is consistent with our mission to train future business leaders as well as drive change, innovation and efficiency within industry," added R. Sanders Williams, M.D., dean of Duke University School of Medicine and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Duke University Medical Center. "This is an exciting concept that holds the potential to ultimately enable personalized health care in the United States ."

Brian J. Baum, senior scholar and co-originator of the Duke health data exchange model, will serve as the new foundation's chief executive officer.

In a parallel effort, Edward Berlin, former chair of the law firm Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman LLP, will lead the development of the HRN Foundation Board of Directors and serve as its chair. Under his direction, the board will develop the protocols and standards governing HRN operations, with the objective of assuring confidentially, network security and non-discriminatory access. Berlin is a leading advocate of consumer and public interest causes, and has prior experience as a state regulator appointed to advance consumer protection.

Baum announced the Health Record Network's senior leadership team will also include:

- Kevin Schulman, M.D., co-originator of the health data exchange model, director of the Health Sector Management Program at The Fuqua School of Business and professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine. Schulman will continue in his current responsibilities at Duke, but also assume a position on the Board of Directors focusing on medical affairs issues.

- William E. Hammond, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Duke University Medical Center who is widely recognized for his work in advancing electronic health records. Hammond will serve as the Health Record Network's senior vice president for industry outreach. He will also chair an advisory board representing various constituency groups, from private industry to health professionals to consumers.

- Mark A. Calem, most recently a vice president with AMS Consulting in Fairfax , Va., who has joined the Health Record Network as chief technology officer. Calem has more than 20 years experience designing and implementing complex information technology architectures for various clients, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In reaching out to consumers, the Health Record Network has adopted "America 's Network for Record Health" as its marketing theme.

"Our new identity and theme reflect our bold vision to improve patient care and outcomes while improving industry efficiency and lowering the cost of care," Baum said. "In short, a goal to achieve ‘record health' throughout America by effectively managing health information through individual and aggregated health records."

The immediate focus of the HRN program will be to conduct several pilot projects, including a statewide consumer/clinical pilot , a corporate pilot involving a large employee base and a chronic illness pilot targeting patients within a specific disease category. Advanced discussions are underway regarding all three pilot projects.

"The knowledge gained from these pilot studies will help to define what consumers want in managing health information and the optimal approach for communicating and educating consumers about the benefits of managing their personal health information," Baum said.

Added Schulman, "As a society, we need new tools to address the escalating costs of health care. We believe the Health Record Network -– with its consumer-driven, patient-centric focus -– will become a major resource in our efforts to address this critical national challenge."