When did I begin taking those blood pressure pills? Is it time for a physical exam? I had a colonoscopy a few years ago and they discovered a polyp. When do I need a follow up procedure? In today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to keep track of your medical history. But a company in the Princeton, New Jersey area, founded in 2006, is ready to help you.
John Phelan is founder and CEO of Zweena, a personal health records service that will help you take the lead in your personal health.
Phelan gradually developed an interest in health care, having volunteered in the Peace Corps in Marrakech, Morocco, working at a home for boys with polio. “I started working as a pharmaceutical salesperson in Des Moines, Iowa, of all places, selling insulin,” says Phelan, noting that after visiting doctor offices in Iowa and southern Minnesota, he started to develop an understanding of diabetes.
Frustrated that consumers were not able to navigate through the health care system, Phelan says he “decided to really do what my heart was telling me to do, which was, OK, just don’t complain, be part of the solution. Let’s sit down, and from the ground up, create a system by which the consumer is in the middle of everything.”
Phelan created a service-based consumer health record company. “You tell us who your doctors are, you give us permission to go collect the records on your behalf, we go get copies of your records. Literally we go and call the (doctor) offices and they make photo copies. It’s not sexy. They basically send those copies to us. I have a staff of medical coders and a nurse who basically reviews every single sheet of paper,” says Phelan. He says doctor notes (blood pressure readings, etc.) are digitized..
According to Phelan, “We created a company and an application around the premise that the consumer needs to be in the middle. The consumer needs to be empowered, the consumer needs to have the data, regardless of if they’re going to do anything with it.” The idea, says Phelan, is “making the consumer go from being reactive, in a health care situation, to proactive.”
Zweena can help patients who, because of an emergency, may have to visit a doctor in another city. “Zweena was really created so that the individual has the data 24/7 365…it’s online. So as long as you have an online connection, if you want to get into the application, that’s there. Anything we’ve collected and digitized for the patient is there for you to see,” says Phelan.
Your Zweena health record, says Phelan, goes from allergy down to weight. Phelan says, “It basically, very succinctly, gives you exactly what’s in the category…all your medications that you’re on or have been on, all of your different cholesterol readings, all of your blood pressure, blood glucose (readings).”
Phelan says you can share access to your Zweena health records with your partner — perhaps your wife, husband or significant other. This can be of crucial importance if you happen to collapse on a business trip and cannot communicate with your doctor. Zweena will provide emergency contact numbers, which can help a doctor in an emergency.
Zweena records are secure. Phelan says Zweena went to Microsoft Health Vault. “We basically use Microsoft’s front-end user name and password protection. If it’s good enough for Microsoft, it should be good enough for Zweena,” says Phelan.
Phelan says, “There’s no question that we, in this country, have lagged far behind in health care and health care technology for the consumer. Zweena really offers the first step to at least get a digitized copy of your medical records, so that wherever you go, wherever you travel, wherever you move to, whatever job you may take…you always have a chance to have one consistent health care platform.”