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ONC Takes on Patient Engagement in HIT

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, October 6, 2011

The federal government will spend nearly $1.4 million to determine "whether and when" providers can share patients' data and to figure out how best to share electronic health data between patients and providers.

In a 36-page document, the Office of the National Coordinators' Office of the Chief Privacy Officer outlines a number of questions and tasks for the contractor, APP Design, Inc., with partnering with providers to creating pilot programs to answering a number of questions about how to engage patients and educate them about their electronic health data.

"The project team will design, develop, and pilot innovative ways to electronically implement existing patient choice policies, while improving business processes for healthcare providers," according to a statement from ONC's Office of the Chief Privacy Officer. The contractor is also charged with looking for an "efficient, effective, and innovative way to help patients better understand their choices regarding whether and when their healthcare provider can share their health information electronically, including sharing it with a health information exchange organization."

The project seeks to:

  • Establish policies and procedures to guide the consent process
  • Educate patients about data exchange
  • Educate providers about their responsibilities with respect to consent management
  • Develop methods and materials to support the education process
  • Develop methods and materials to obtain actual consent
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2 comments on "ONC Takes on Patient Engagement in HIT"


Barbara Wilson (10/7/2011 at 1:33 PM)
Thank you, Naomi. Well said and very true.

Naomi Giroux (10/7/2011 at 10:15 AM)
I have two points to make. First is a review of how HIPPA Regulations are being used to keep patients and their families out of the center of information and decision making. Often as patients and their advocates/caregivers try to get enough information to make decisions they are stonewalled. Electronic records could be used as yet another barrier for consumers. Second, I'd suggest more review of the studies about the lack of information sharing be conducted based on your statement. "There is little research as to whether patients are adequately informed to understand the choices they make with respect to sharing health information, ONC says, while studies show that efforts to collect informed consent for treatment from patients are often inadequate and have little educational value."