Time For A Better PHR Model — How About Mint.com?

Tonight, I checked out the always-interesting #HITsm TweetChat, which attracted a nice group of informed HIT experts. (It takes place from 8PM to 9PM Central Time on Mondays — I highly recommend you attend sometime.)

While the conversation wandered, as professional chats always do, one theme that came up a few times was the importance of PHRs in the overall healthcare data picture. I watched with interest, since I’m a real PHR skeptic and wondered if anyone had a  breakthrough idea on the subject.

One poster — if I understood him correctly — noted that while he didn’t trust Google or Microsoft PHRs, he’d manage his own health data gladly if it was stored on a very secure, easy-to-populate tool like financial site Mint.com.  I thought this was a tremendously good idea.

For those who haven’t used it, Mint.com allows consumers to suck data from bank and credit card accounts, loans and more into a single interface, making it easy to check on and edit the data with a few clicks.  Not only that, it allows you to create analytical charts, monitor for problems and set goals.  Just imagine how useful those functions could be for personal health maintenance.

Having used Mint.com happily for my personal finances, I yearn for the day when health data is equally accessible and manageable.  It’s easy to imagine — though admittedly, a tall order technically — interesting consumers in building out PHRs if they had access to a simple interface and secure connections to all needed data.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any PHR that’s quite this sophisticated. Is it time for Intuit (Mint’s owner) to go into the PHR business?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • I like the comparison since I’m also a Mint user. Although, Mint hasn’t been quite as good since the acquisition. So, maybe the comparison to a startup PHR company might be better than Intuit doing PHR.

    The key for Mint I think was their ability to easily aggregate all the data. Plus, that data is then useful in aggregate.

    Certainly a lot could be done to aggregate health data better. However, if all my health data was aggregated, what would I do then as a healthy individual?

    Unless you start talking about what I discussed in my Compelling Case for PHR post where we start talking about health, exercise, sleep, etc. Then, I might be interested in seeing that data along with other health devices that gather my data over time.

  • Intuit purchased Medfusion who purchased Medem a PHR back in May of 2009. They integrate with Allscripts EMR system. I happen to know this because I worked for Medem. So…Intuit IS in the PHR business.

  • Agree with Anon1, Intuit has developed a PHR aggregator directly from EHRs (Allscripts being one). They had developed it prior to Medfusion acquisition, and with Medfusion also having a similar product, the question they must be facing is which one to retain.

    I don’t think it has been released to the public free of cost, very unlike Mint.com. No wonder, nobody knows about it.

  • One way of looking at Avado.com is as a “Mint” for healthcare. The focus is on the clinical side. CakeHealth and Simplee are like a Mint.com for the claims side of things. Avado is a multi-provider patient system with a freemium model. The free version addresses the scenario you describe while also addressing Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements around patient engagement. We call it a Patient Relationship Management system and is a superset of traditional PHRs (we call ours a Collaborative Health Record) and patient portals.

    By way of background, Avado was also a TechCrunch Disrupt finalist like Mint and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and many other pubs even while still in beta. Earlier in my career, I was the founder of Microsoft’s health platform business which remains the hugely successful facet of what Microsoft has done in healthcare.

    If you want my two cents on why Google Health failed, Google “Why Google Health Really Failed—It’s About The Money.” As you might imagine, we have striven to learn from the long line of PHR failures.

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