News :

Successful Launch of the Special Olympics Personal Health Record Pilot Program.



Pilot Program Gives Wisconsin Athletes Health Record on USB Card

Imagine carrying your health record with you in your wallet -- allowing it to be viewed any time you wanted, letting any doctor you visit add new information, and giving you reminders when it is time for a follow-up appointment. That will be the reality for all Special Olympics participants one day, thanks to several Athletes from Wisconsin who attended Healthy Athletes screenings during the Program’s state bowling and volleyball competitions on December 5, and agreed to help test the new athlete personal health record USB cards.

Twenty Athletes received the card during the event and agreed to share the record with their caregiver and dentist if any follow-up care was recommended.  In the coming months, Special Olympics will follow up with these athletes and their caregivers, and their input will be used to improve the card before it is launched more broadly.

“This is a historic moment for the SO movement,” said Dr. Stan Shepherd, Chairman of Health One Global, one of Special Olympics’ global partners in developing an electronic athlete health record. “We are putting in place the infrastructure to close the referral loop and maintain a long-term record of Athletes’ health.”

At the December event, staff members from SOI escorted participating Athletes through the MedFest and Special Smiles disciplines, showing them how to use the USB cards and supplying them with a password to access their health information. After accompanying the Athletes through typical screenings for these two disciplines, SOI staff entered their data into the Healthy Athletes Software (HAS) system and loaded information onto the USB card and gave them to Athletes.

Once launched, a Special Olympics electronic personal health record will be a great benefit to both individual Athletes and the Special Olympics movement. It will empower Athletes, giving them control over their own health information, and by also incorporating the health record with health data currently stored in HAS, a historical record of health status is created. In this way, the impact of Healthy Athletes can be better tracked over time.  This data will allow Special Olympics to illustrate to policymakers and funders the great need for health services for people with intellectual disabilities and the impact Healthy Athletes can have on Athlete health.

Special Olympics Wisconsin provided a good case study for the health record, with more than 3,500 Athletes in its system, some with multiple past screenings, and even some with health histories going back to the 2003 World Games. In order to participate in the USB card test, Athletes must have had previous participation in Healthy Athletes, be over 18 years of age, and with a caregiver who was also willing to participate in the trial.

“It’s exciting to think that SOWI and 20 of our athletes are the first step in making a universal health record a reality for all athletes in the future,” said Melissa Schoenbrodt, SOWI Director of Training and Athlete Wellness. “Having SOI select Special Olympics Wisconsin to conduct their pilot project is an honor.  It’s a great opportunity for SOWI’s athletes to take part.”

Copyright HEALTH One Global Ltd, 2007