Libby Dowdall, Communications Coordinator, Project HealthDesign National Program Office
Today, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) formally commented on the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program’s Stage 2 proposed rule, issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As a national program of RWJF’s Pioneer Portfolio, we, too, recognize health IT’s role as an important tool for improving health and health care in the U.S., and we applaud this effort toward the truly meaningful use of EHRs.
We encourage you to read a selection from RWJF’s general comments on patient engagement:
We are encouraged by efforts in the proposed rule regarding patient and consumer engagement, especially regarding secure messaging; direct, downloadable access to patient data; patient reminders; inclusion of family health history; and provision of patient education. Nevertheless, we would like to see the required percentages higher than proposed in some cases. In addition, as our Project HealthDesign makes clear, patients now expect to engage with their personal health data in apps and on mobile devices of their choosing. We expect this trend to increase significantly. Further, patients will almost certainly expect that the flow of information be in two directions. In other words, patients will reasonably expect they will have both access to personal health data but also the ability to provide personal data to their health professionals. Work by both Project HealthDesign and by RWJF’s OpenNotes project shows that health data is becoming essentially a platform for conversation between patient and health professional. Project HealthDesign uses patient-generated data to spark conversations about the course of treatment. OpenNotes enables patients to see their data and have a discussion with their health professional about that information. A recent study about OpenNotes (Ann Intern Med, 2011;155:811-819) indicates that patients feel very strongly about gaining access to actual information in their medical record. The patients in this study did not share concerns noted by physicians in the study that patients would not understand or would worry about aspects of this information.
Native apps on smartphones and tablets may currently provide the most engaging experiences with health data for the public. Unfortunately importing data about care, such as lab test results, remains a significant barrier to adoption and use for both patients and app developers alike. Ideally, efforts to liberate this data for things like these apps, other personal health information tools as well as a platform for conversations between patients and their health professionals will become a policy reality in future versions of this rule.
Read RWJF’s full comment.
The comment period for the proposed rule closes tonight at 11:59 p.m. EST. Submit a comment at regulations.gov.