NFL working to put player medical records online

AP

Eight NFL teams will participate in a pilot program this year which would put a player’s entire medical record at a doctor’s fingertips on the sideline, though there are still plenty of questions to be answered.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the plan could put everything from X-rays to baseline concussion tests onto handheld computers, and information could eventually be moved from team to team.

The Steelers, Ravens, Broncos, Texans, Patriots, Giants, Jets and 49ers will participate in the program, which would move information through the internet into each player’s electronic medical record.

“Let’s say he starts out with the Rams, and then he’s either cut or traded or leaves as a free agent, goes to the Denver Broncos, then the information will be portable,” said Matthew Matava, Rams team physician and president of the NFL Physicians Society. “The Denver doctors will then have any information that was accrued while he was in St. Louis. Like any other electronic medical record, it will be portable with the player and therefore very accurate.”

The last collective bargaining agreement provided for such a system, though there are concerns among some players, agents and the NFLPA about how information would be distributed, and whether it could be used against players eventually.

The NFLPA didn’t respond to requests for comment, and the league said they’re still discussing with the union how to handle the technology.

“It is a work in progress,” the league said in a statement. “We will not use the EMR to share records between teams until after the pilot stage of the program.”

It sounds like a great idea. While players have a general sense of their own histories (or should), having their charts available to a new staff when they change teams should ultimately be a good thing for them.

But most agree that HGH testing is a good idea as well, and the league and union haven’t figured out how to implement that, either.