Study: “Team” Approach to Portal Promotion Boosts Patient Engagement
The Annals of Family Medicine published a study this week which showed that physicians can increase patient use of portals by taking a “team” approach to notifying patients about the portal. This can be achieved by ensuring that the portal includes important health information like lab results and by integrating portal use into the routine care given to patients.
The study examined eight practices in the Virginia Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network that used an interactive preventative health record (IPHR) over a two and a half year period. The IPHR delivers personally customized suggestions and resources for a number of preventative services and associated chronic conditions. The study revealed that 25.7 % of the 112,893 patients who attended an office visit during the two and a half years created an IPHR account.
The study concluded that patient uptake of IPHR “may be lower for online personal health records offered by Internet companies or health plans, where the imprimatur of one’s personal clinician is lacking”.
Article: FierceEMR, 9/15/14
Study: Annals of Family Medicine, September/October 2014
ONC Survey: 46% of Patients Given Online Access to Records Use It
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) conducted a survey that found 46% of patients who were offered access to their health record online viewed their records at least once – that’s 9 times higher than the Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU2) 5% requirement.
The ONC survey revealed that 70% of patients considered having secure access to their online medical record to be very or somewhat important and the majority of those who viewed their records online found the portal “very helpful.” 75% of patients who participated in the survey claimed they used the online information to track their health and 40% reported sharing the information with a family member or healthcare provider.
Source: FierceHealthIT, 9/15/14
Tech Fixes Ease Sharing of Sensitive Patient Data
Michigan lawmakers removed a major obstacle blocking patient medical record exchange this spring when they approved a standard system for saving and querying electronic consent forms for sensitive protected health information (PHI).
Regulations protect patients’ privacy around diagnosis and treatment of mental health and addiction conditions. These rules extend beyond HIPAA and require explicit consent to share these types of records. As a result, most providers and HIT systems prevent all mental health and addiction-related PHI from being shared, even if a patient consents.
The Michigan system is the first of its kind to enable providers to check whether consent to share data has been granted. Modern Healthcare explains that, “if a consent directive is there, the system approves the release of information, queries Community’s EHR system for data on that patient, uses it to prepare a care summary, and displays it to UM care managers through a secure Web portal.”
Sharing patient data cuts costs by stopping the patients from repeating the same metabolic tests for different providers. Providers are currently in the process of developing privacy controls for EHRs to adhere to stringent federal privacy laws that control behavioral and addiction treatment. These privacy regulations are essential to encourage Americans suffering from mental-health issues or addiction to seek treatment without fear of experiencing negative social or financial consequences in the case that their records are wrongly shared.
Source: Modern Healthcare, 9/13/14
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Graphic of the Week: Employee Wellness Programs
Source: The Economist