Empowering Patients to Access and Use their Health Information


Kicking off National Health IT Week, the ONC and HHS streamed its Consumer Health IT Summit live on line yesterday. Secretary Sebelius, ONC Mostashari, Surgeon General Benjamin, CMS Director Berwick, OCR Director Rodriguez, US CTO, Chopra, and HHS CTO Park circled the wagons and showed us the commitment there is to Health IT, patient information access, and patient awareness. The hour and a half was packed with so much information it was hard to keep up. Look to Jim and my posts the rest of the week for details on what they are announcing along with news and updates about National Health IT Week (#NHITWeek). Twitter was non stop on #ONC during the webcast, check out some of the feed for tweets and commentary there too. The actual webcast will be posted so continue to check back to the HHS Live site.

The new web site HealthIT.gov was officially launched last week which was a perfect pathway to yesterday’s Summit. And the slogan, “Putting the I in Health IT” looks like the perfect pitch for their initiative. The ONC announced the release of their PHR Model Privacy Notice. This tool is a standardized template for PHR companies that will inform consumers on their privacy and security policies. HHS announced they have issued a proposed rule to amend CLIA and let patients have access to results directly from labs. The new Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Director Leon Rodriguez answered the never ending misconception about can patients have access to their health records under HIPAA? “Yes you can!”. And an overview and credits to its beginning success of Blue Button was given by VA CTO Levin. While the Markle Foundation announced the collaboration of the web site BlueButtonData.com.

But my highlight of the event had to be Park and Chopra reading the individual pledges from all across the industry that have sworn to take this initiative seriously and literally do something about it. In the MTV Awards style shout outs there was no doubt that both Todd Park and Aneesh Chopra are ring leaders in this cause. Their personal and professional connections to all the pledgers were completely apparent and honest. And thumbs up to the dozens of leaders in private insurance, software vendors, professional associations, PHR vendors, consumer and lobby groups, and health care providers that have pledged to making health inforamtion accessible or market to consumers on what they need to know about their health information. Collectively they have already opened the door to millions of consumers. Their attendance and pledges were a breath of fresh air in lieu of them blogging how government is telling them yet another thing to do.

National Health IT Week celebrates the improvements being made in the quality of health care through new technologies. Read the presidents proclamation.