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Athena vs. Microsoft

04/27/2017

If you “transfer” your electronic record from a medical provider who uses Athena’s EHR to a patient-centric record like Microsoft’s HealthVault, you may find that the so-called record contains no useful clinical information just when your life depends on it.

I raved about this capability of Athena, apparently not shared by Epic for example. Two of my own medical providers use Athena. When I looked at the transferred record from one of them, a dentist, to HealthVault, I found all the records I expected. The record from the other, a physician, however, contained only a few pages of useless dates and headings.

I engaged the physician’s office manager in attempting to correct the problem. She reached out to Athena, but instead of helping us solve the problem, they just blamed it on Microsoft. Athena also provides a download option, but when I downloaded my file, getting Microsoft out of the loop, it too lacked any substantial clinical information.

When I proposed that the office manager fax me a copy of my medical record I received a 38 page .pdf document, replete with progress notes, pretty much what I expected, and I easily uploaded it to HealthVault. However, she informed me that patients cannot use this function.

Do not rely on Athena to transfer your file to HealthVault. It could cost you your life.

A company that cares about patients would not just cop out and point a finger at another company. If your provider uses Athena, or any EMR that purports to allow record transfer, and you want to use the feature, be sure to examine the contents of the transferred record, possibly reviewing it with the provider before you need another provider to access it in an emergency.