Community News

HIE and advanced health models: 5 things to watch

One idea that looks promising as a part of the meaningful use EHR program is the broad category of “advanced health models,” which was recently probed by the Health IT Policy Committee’s Advanced Health Models and Meaningful Use Workgroup.

The workgroup, chaired by Paul Tang, MD, the chief innovation and technology officer at Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation, is charged with finding ways “to facilitate the effective use of health IT to support and scale advanced health models.”

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How to Take Charge of Your Medical Records

It’s your health. So it’s time you took control of all the information about it.

That’s the message that a growing number of patient advocates are trying to spread to American health-care consumers.

For most people, of course, it’s all too easy to simply leave their health records in the hands of doctors and hospitals. But that’s a big mistake, the advocates argue. First, it gives doctors too much power over information that is vital to patients, and it creates opportunities for errors. Perhaps more important, it keeps patients from using the information themselves for their own benefit.

“For consumers to start requesting and using their health information will be a game-changer for the health-care system,” says Christine Bechtel, a consultant for the National Partnership for Women and Families who spearheads the Get My Health Data campaign to get patients to ask doctors for their records. “Once we unlock the data, there’s an enormous amount we can do with it.”

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Health records in your hands

Humetrix is among tech firms giving patients access to their medical records

 

Beth Schindele has seen firsthand why patients should keep their fingers on the pulse of their own medical records.

She is a caregiver for her elderly father. As he was being discharged from the hospital, a nurse brought a tray full of pills for him to take, including a blood thinner.

Schindele told the nurse that her father was no longer using blood thinning medication. Hospital records from previous admissions, however, showed that he was. The nurse was skeptical.

So Schindele pulled up her father’s summary medical records on the iBlueButton smartphone app from Del Mar-based Humetrix.

Tapping into Medicare data, iBlueButton showed that the blood thinner prescription hadn’t been refilled for more than two years. Her father left the hospital without it.

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More Patients Want Their Medical Information Available Electronically: AHRQ Report

In 2013, more than half (54.9 percent) of patients said it was important to them that they get their own medical information electronically, a jump from 2008, when 44.3 percent of patients said so, according to recent findings from AHRQ’s newly released Chartbook on Care Coordination.  Having electronic access to their medical information mattered more to younger patients (18 to 34) than to patients 65 and older. However, having their doctors and other health providers share medical information electronically with each other for care coordination was most important to older patients, followed by middle-aged (35–64) and younger patients. Patients across all ethnic groups and educational levels want their doctors and other health care providers to be able to share medical information electronically, the chartbook shows.  From 2008 to 2013, the percentage of Black patients who said sharing medical information electronically was very important grew from 37.2 percent to 47.6 percent; among Whites, the percentage grew from 42.6 percent to 54.6 percent; and Hispanics, from 40.1 percent to 53.2 percent. For more information on the Chartbook on Care Coordination, part of AHRQ’s National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports, please visit: http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/2014chartbooks/carecoordination/

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Three Major Systems Join San Diego Health Connect, Giving HIE Big Boost

SAN DIEGO – With the addition of San Diego's three largest health systems, more than one million patients soon will have the opportunity to participate in the region's health information exchange, San Diego Health Connect. The community-wide HIE allows patient medical records to be shared among the region's competing health care providers, large and small.

Scripps Health, Sharp HealthCare and the UC-San Diego Medical Center join about 100 other facilities already participating in Health Connect inSan Diego and Imperial Counties, including Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, Kaiser Permanente, the Department of Veterans Affairs  and the Department of Defense.

 

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Sharing of Records Soon to be Automatic

More than 1 million patients with Sharp HealthCare, Scripps Health and UC San Diego will soon automatically participate in San Diego’s medical record-sharing network unless they decide to opt out.

The three health systems are transmitting digital consent forms for all of their recent patients to San Diego Health Connect, a nonprofit information exchange that helps doctors quickly and securely view medical information even if it resides across town at a different organization.

This sharing is an outgrowth of the move to digital medical records that the federal government has pushed for since 2009.

Experts say better interconnection between often-competing medical providers has the potential to prevent serious patient harm and can help reduce costly duplication of services.

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CAHIE - ONC Interoperability Showcase Kiosk

It is no longer possible to collect and maintain information on all potential data sharing partners or electronic services locally. CAHIE’s demonstration in ONC’s Interoperability Showcase showed how to expand the use of the IHEHealthcare Provider Directory (HPD) profile beyond a directory of Direct addresses, scaling it to federated, dymanic directory searches for individuals, organizations, and the means by which to exchange with them.

The demonstration showed off Directory Services that are part of the California Trusted Exchange Network (CTEN) and support statewide interoperability in California. The technical services highlighted in the demonstration are paired with CTEN agreementspolicies, and procedures that govern sharing of directory information. While designed to support California, the model can also be used to enable data sharing in other states that have multiple HIE service providers or to support nationwide HIE.

 

 

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Roadblocks to Sharing Medical Records

The ability to transfer electronic medical records from one doctor or hospital to another is essential to the smooth functioning of the health care system and to providing the best possible care to patients. Yet all too often these transfers are being blocked by developers of health information technology or greedy medical centers that refuse to send records to rival providers.

This will not be an easy problem to fix, but some possible approaches were detailed in a report to Congress last week from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Health Information Exchange: Has it held up to its expectations?

"When referring to the concept of health information exchange (HIE), benefits such as “cost savings, increased efficiency and improved care coordination and patient care” are often touted as the selling points and marketing slogans to increase participation among HIE organizations.  As a fairly new vehicle for healthcare reform and quality improvement, spanning only the past five years in most cases, HIE is now providing real metrics for proving its worth in saving lives, improving the quality of care and reducing healthcare costs."

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Health Information Exchange: Lessons From Libraries

Health information exchange: Congress has encouraged it, the business case is strong and the public assumes it is happening behind the scenes. But on the ground, medical staff fight this war with fax machines and frantic calls to medical record departments.

But what if a lab test only had to be done once, and then everyone had access to the results? What if real-time referrals included pertinent notes and results, transmitted directly as structured data into the specialist's electronic health record system?

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