SURGEON GENERAL RELEASES MY FAMILY HEALTH PORTRAIT 2.0: AN ELECTRONIC HEALTH HISTORY TOOL



The Surgeon General has developed a next-generation Family Health History (FHH) tool. “FHH 2.0” allows users to create a mapping of a person’s family health history in a pedigree format, similar to a family tree, so consumers and practitioners can quickly identify genetic medical risks and take appropriate actions to mitigate them. The consumer can electronically share this family health history with family members and healthcare providers. 

Notably, the data is processed by the FHH 2.0 tool, but not stored on the web site; at the end of each consumer session, the data file is returned to the consumer.  More importantly, FHH 2.0 is EHR-ready. The tool provides ready-to-be embedded .xml files for PHRs and EHRs. As EHRs and PHRs increasingly become common in the United States, FHH 2.0 will enable streamlined patient contributions to their family medical history information. 

Lastly, FHH 2.0 is customizable. It is intended to be easily integrated into existing patient care portals. This feature allows healthcare organizations to promote the process of tracing patients’ family histories, to promote using the tool within a hospital’s own secure environment, and to foster more comprehensive online patient portals. 

In early January 2009, the FHH 2.0 source code will be available for download at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/. Technical assistance will be available from https://gforge.nci.nih.gov/projects/fhh/. As Americans increasingly use the Internet to manage aspects of their daily lives, the Surgeon General hopes that FHH 2.0 will empower them to proactively participate in the management of their healthcare.