Patientricity has become the new healthcare delivery model… Why not for EHR systems too?
Meaningful use in EHR systems strives to provide communication among doctors and other healthcare facilities. But why not among patients too?
Now that patients are more active in their healthcare decisions, giving them access to their healthcare information to aid in the decision-making process while avoiding serious complications or minefields associated with various illnesses, only makes sense.
“The Blue Button” was launched back in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to enable veterans access to their health records in a secure, online patient portal. Now, over 150 million Americans can tap into their own health data using the Blue Button tool according to a press release from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
In order to get a boost in private sector applications and services as in pharmacies,The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology recently issued Blue Button+. This is a compilation of technical guidelines to enable providers to structure their data into standardized machine-readable formats.
A national information exchange coming down the pike
Portions of the infrastructure are being built to enable communication across all users for a national health information data exchange which are currently lacking.
Jennifer Covich, CEO of eHealth Initiative, points out:
“It’s like we have a set of towns across the country and no roads between them, we’re building more towns before we build the roads. A hospital could have a very sophisticated IT system, but it doesn’t matter unless you’re in that ‘town.’” “There has been significant progress. We don’t have to convince ventolin apteka online people that EHRs are important. Everyone knows it’s needed, they just want to know how to implement it. We have doctors and hospitals and health plans collecting data, now we just need to move it and use it.”
Considering that electronic health record systems and meaningful use has not been available until the recent past, we have made great strides toward a national network capable of sharing health information. According to the NCHS ( National Center for Health Statistics) financial incentives has spurred adoption by almost half of medical offices. (up from a mere eighteen percent in 2001).
Six health plans are part of the Hudson Valley Initiative, an organization created to improve quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare in the Hudson Valley. Its chief executive Officer, Dr. Blair explains that there are two aspects to EHR sharing. The direct exchange or push method, involves sharing of patient information among physicians involved in caring for individuals while a pull method allows individuals to submit questions to the EHR for specific information.
Dr. Blair further explains:
“to some degree they all make up some piece of a future national network. Healtheway is an umbrella organization that begins to connect all of them. It’s patching together these traditional HIEs.”
The goal is for information to be shared regardless of which system or exchange the doctor or health facility is using. This is the goal ( and current challenge) to the real usefulness of electronic health record systems- that of interoperability.
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