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Customer Experience and Design

Will Patient based EHRs and HIEs Dominate the Future?

When it comes to healthcare there are two main problems: Quality of care and cost. It has been suggested that these issues can be solved with data – data that is available and useful but fails to be transferred and properly communicated to practitioners. If this information is properly transferred amongst providers via HIEs then suggestions to change the structure of pay from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance would make sense. Now add in a way to drive accountability to patients and we see a true revolution.

If the future of healthcare includes patient owned EHRs and HIEs, then these two solutions will introduce a new realm of analytics – patient-perspective analytics. Will the industry give patient-run EMRs another chance?

The benefits of sharing healthcare data in a usable form with patients completes the data circle and increases benefits.

Benefits of Sharing

  1. Continuum of Care: Normally, we talk about the importance of the continuum of care from a provider perspective, but a true continuum of care means that information is shared between all parties – including the patient. By sharing information with patients, providers can expect a more educated, involved patient and better care outcomes.
  2. Cost: The price tag associated with unnecessary procedures is jaw-dropping. While HIEs promise to lower healthcare costs by eliminating redundant tests and procedures, patient-driven HIEs provide another method for patients to ensure that they are receiving the right care and are involved advocates for themselves.
  3. Fewer Burdens for Providers: The opt-in, opt-out and opt-in with restrictions burden will no longer be placed on organizations. Instead, patients will be the owners and will be responsible for sharing what they choose to share. By default they will be protecting their PHI and sharing information when appropriate.
  4. Financial Obligations and Sustainability: In 2011, only 24 of the 255 HIEs were financially sustainable. If patients are willing to pay minimal fees to have access to their medical records and take ownership of transfer requests, then the issue of financial solvency may be solved.

Despite the obvious benefits, there is still a slew of uncertainty around patient-based HIEs. What the future holds is unclear, but without patient involvement how will healthcare meet its objectives? Without driving accountability down to the patient how can we expect outcomes to increase? Without including patients how can we call solutions “solutions”?

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