|Health information technology can improve care by ensuring that care is based on evidence,|
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, proposed new rules that would expand the privileges of patients to access their health information by using health IT.
Specifically, the new rules would help patients by allowing them to get access to test results directly from labs. These rules would ensure that the labs covered by the Health Insurance Portability and AccountabilityAct of 1996 (HIPAA) provide such information, after request, directly to patients or their personal representatives.
The announcement emerged Monday at the kick-off of the first HHS Consumer Health IT Summit, which brought collectively consumers, providers and the public and private industries to talk about how best to empower consumers to be partners in their health and care through health information technology.
"When considering healthcare, information is power, " Sebelius said at the summit. "When patients have their research laboratory results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make smarter decisions and receive better care. "
In conjunction with the announcement, the American Nurses Association issued a press release in which it pledged to teach consumers about the great things about digital health information.
The ANA plans to develop educational materials on health information technology for RNs to share with consumers. The effort will help people be familiar with great things about using their electronic health records to prevent illness and manage chronic conditions, and also to track their history of immunizations, clinical exams and hospitalizations.
" Health information technology can improve care by ensuring that care is based on evidence, " ANA President Karen Daley, RN, PhD, MPH, FAAN, said in a news release. "It also allows healthcare experts from different clinical settings and disciplines to communicate effectively about a patient's treatment to avoid duplication of services and ensure nothing important is missed through a lost paper trail or failed memory. This excellent platform for compiling and examining data also supports one of the strongest tenets of nursing -- teaching the healthcare consumer. "
The ANA will ask nurses to submit types of the progressive use of health information technology in their practices, including methods for engaging patients in the use of that technology to improve their health, such as through patient websites. The ANA intends to share such models with the Office of the National Coordinator for Well being Information Technology (ONC), a branch of HHS, to demonstrate nursing's effectiveness in developing consumer-oriented health information technology strategies.
On a legal basis, the Notice of Proposed Rule-making, jointly drafted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the HHS Workplace for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Reduction, proposes to amend the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Changes of 1988 regulations and HIPAA privacy regulations to strengthen patients' rights to access their own laboratory test result reports.
- Health IT empowers patients. For example , people at risk of myocardial infarction may use mobile health applications to control their weight, diet and medication adherence.
- Health IT can facilitate lasting quality improvements, which can lead to greater efficiency and cost savings in the long run.
- Health IT is the traveling innovation in all regions of consumers' lives -- from new interactive applications to devices such as digital pedometers that capture important health information from every day experiences.
- Health IT helps coordinate better care, and can be an excellent tool for patients in handling serious medical conditions.
- Health IT has robust security and all users, from patients to caregivers to providers, can simply and securely access and share health information electronically.
- Health IT may help diagnose health conditions sooner, avoid medical mistakes and provide safer care that can lead to lower costs.
In the coming yr, ONC will work with health-related stakeholders to help consumer access to information and encourage consumers to become dynamic participants in their health. The new website www.HealthIT.gov creates dedicated consumer-oriented information that describes the benefits associated with health IT Business Supervision Articles, provides consumer health education materials and will be a valuable source of learning about new progresses in health IT.