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NCQA: Health IT Can Be Tapped To Support Patient Engagement

Posted by Matthew Smith on Apr 28, 2014 3:58:00 PM

NCQA, National Committee for Quality Assurance

Successful integration of patient engagement tools into health IT systems has "the potential to improve inefficient communication methods and change the dynamic of the relationship between the patient and health care system," according to a new report from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), EHR Intelligence reports. 

However, the report noted that there is not yet a complete framework for boosting patient engagement through health IT systems.

Details of Report

In a survey, the report authors identified six common themes of "opportunities and challenges" related to patient engagement through health IT:

  • Patient engagement is an untapped opportunity with major potential, especially among marginalized groups;
  • Health IT should adopt a user-based model that originates from the needs and preferences of patients;
  • There is a dearth of evidence on the effectiveness of such tools;
  • Patient-engagement tools should be integrated into overall health care IT systems;
  • Patient and consumer trust needs to be fostered; and
  • Leadership and collaboration among stakeholders are necessary to realize the full potential.

The report also detailed four activities that will help the industry identify and develop a cohesive strategy for patient engagement through health IT, including:

  • Developing joint principles that will facilitate the design, creation and adoption of health IT tools that boost patient care, improve overall population health and lower health care costs;
  • Creating and implementing an evaluation framework that focuses on investment and prioritizes consumer choice;
  • Facilitating the creation of a unified health data integration strategy focused on patient engagement; and
  • Demonstrating innovative ways to use IT tools for patient engagement.

Comments

In the report, the authors wrote that "[h]ealth IT tools for patient engagement are often disconnected from the health care system and in need of full integration across all opportunities for engagement." However, the report added that successful integration of patient engagement in health IT systems has "the potential to improve inefficient communication methods and change the dynamic of the relationship between the patient and health care system."

NCQA President Margaret O'Kane said the "core idea" of the report is that health IT "should be designed around the needs and preferences of patients." She added that "the question of how to link [health IT] and patient engagement is an area where a unified strategy is most needed" (Murphy,EHR Intelligence, 4/23).

Patient Engagement, Patient Service

Topics: HIT, Health IT, HealthIT, Patient Engagement, Health Information Technology

New Survey: Providers Must Educate Patients on Digital Med Records

Posted by Matthew Smith on Oct 2, 2013 4:19:00 PM

Digital Medical Records, EHR, EMRWhile more healthcare providers continue to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHRs), a recent Xerox survey revealed the need for doctors to educate consumers about digital medical records to comply with upcoming federal mandates.   

Xerox’s fourth annual EHR survey of 2,009 U.S. adults revealed that only 29% of those who have a doctor have been informed their medical records will be converted to digital format. While this shows a 13-point improvement from four years ago, the survey results continued to show that the majority of Americans (83%) have concerns, such as security, about EHRs and less than one-third (32%) want their medical records to be digital (compared to 82% and 26% in 2010, respectively).

Healthcare providers seeking to earn Meaningful Use Stage 2 incentives, which first became available for hospitals on Oct. 1, will have one year to make patients’ medical records available via online portals and must have 5% of their patients actually access the data. Currently, only 19% of the U.S. adults surveyed have access to their medical records online.

“The juxtaposition here is that since the HITECH Act became law four years ago, healthcare providers have made tremendous strides in adopting EHRs, but there has been little to no change in Americans’ acceptance of digital medical records,” said Charles Fred, president of healthcare provider solutions at Xerox. “Patients will soon have more access to their personal health information than ever before, but they need to be educated by providers on how this will empower them to take charge of their own care.”

Despite continued resistance and slow progress, Americans do see some benefits of EHRs, with 62% agreeing that they will reduce overall healthcare costs and 73% believing that EHRs will improve the quality of service they receive from their healthcare provider, respectively up 2% and 3% from last year.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Xerox from Aug. 9 to Aug. 13, 2013, among 2,009 adults ages 18 and older. The 2012 survey was conducted from May 11 to May 15, 2012, among 2,147 adults ages 18 and above. The 2011 survey was conducted From May 5 to May 9, 2011, among 2,720 adults aged 18 and older. The 2010 survey was conducted Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, 2010, among 2,180 adults aged 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please see below for media contacts.

Topics: EMR, Health IT, Digital Medical Records, Health Information Technology

Vanderbilt University Launches Health Information Software Challenge

Posted by Matthew Smith on May 3, 2013 11:00:00 AM

Vanderbilt Mobil Health App Contest

Vanderbilt University announced yesterday a $20,000 worldwide contest called the Health App Challenge, aimed to transform patient clinical summaries into easy to understand personalized health information. 

Entries may be submitted May 1- Aug. 1, with a $10,000 winner and five $2,000 winners to be announced Aug. 14.

"This is a first for Vanderbilt, but what we love about this approach is that it truly allows non-medical people who are passionate about health care to change the way we communicate to patients,” said Kevin Johnson, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) and professor of Pediatrics. 

“This challenge recognizes our thirst to deliver personalized information that is relevant to patients and families, easily understood, and hopefully, feasible with current technology and data.  It should be very exciting for all involved.”

The contest is seeking software solutions that can generate rich, highly usable, and informative patient clinical summaries.

Contestants will use a set of test patient information, data schema, and other resources to develop applications that create modernized patient clinical summaries as part of the electronic health record.

“In today’s busy office practice, where patients are more complex, medicine is more complex, and time is short, patients often leave the office misunderstanding their medicines and their plan of care,” said Jim Jirjis, M.D., chief medical information officer and medical director of Adult Primary Care.

“Our contestants for this prize have the opportunity not only to show their creative prowess and win the cash award but they can also rest assured that the big prize is scalably improving patient safety.”

The resulting modernized summaries will become an integrated component of the patient’s health record, fostering new opportunities for improved disease management.

“The intent of the patient clinical summary was to help patients hone in on what’s important for their health,” said Naqi Khan, M.D., instructor, Department of Biomedical Informatics.

“Unfortunately, we’ve fallen short so far in delivering this information to them in an actionable form. The Health App Challenge hopes to remedy this by reinventing the summary into something truly engaging,”

For more information go to http://www.healthappchallenge.com/ and follow on Twitter at @VUMCAppContest

Topics: HIT, Health IT, Mobile Health, mHealth, Vanderbilt, Health Information Technology

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