Why personal health records may be unreliable

Google Health and other personal health records have been touted as a way for patients to actively keep track of their medical history.

However, some of the information, such as diagnoses and the active problem list, are populated using insurance billing codes. This presents a problem, as these codes are notoriously inaccurate, and can reflect a condition that was entered years ago and has since resolved.

Billing codes may make it easier to enter information, but when doctors need an accurate history, items in the personal health record that are irrelevant, or worse, inaccurate, can impede care.

As engineers like to say, garbage in, garbage out.