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Health 2.0: ONC Pledges to Make Patients Meaningful Users, Too

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, September 29, 2011

One town hall audience member asked how the agency intends to reach those goals. Specifically, how can ONC and the industry in general convince consumers that it is OK to walk into their doctor's office and ask for their health data and how can providers ensure that patients get those records and get them consistently? 

Mostashari said the agency can't do it alone.

"We don't own consumer eHealth in any way, shape, or form," he said. "We are at best enablers and sometimes conveners. But we recognize that the real strength of this movement comes from out there, from all of you."

For example, he said, nurses are willing and uniquely able to advocate for patients and help them in getting access to their healthcare data. That's the kind of partnership that will drive the movement, he said. Caregivers and family members can also play a role, he said.

ONC is also promoting its new website, healthit.gov, which has information about health IT for consumers and healthcare professionals as well as its new Consumer Health IT Pledge initiative.

Organizations that participate commit to making it easier for patients to access their personal health data and to educate patients as to why it is important to do so. ONC representatives also touted the Blue Button Initiative, a platform that makes it easier for patients to download their medical records.

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1 comments on "Health 2.0: ONC Pledges to Make Patients Meaningful Users, Too"


@cascadia Sherry Reynolds (9/29/2011 at 2:10 PM)
Actually one of the leading epatient advocates who actually works in health IT - along with Rob Koldner the then head of ONC and some ONC staffers created the position for a national consumer patient advocate but when he left and David Blumenthal, MD was brought in it got put on hold for almost 2 years. David even asked where in the funding legislation (ARRA and HITECH) did it mention a "program" for patients - instead of realizing that everything we do should start with their needs and that patient centered care is a core principal of everything and has been clearly articulated as not only one of the IOM pillars of care but as Berwick (IHI, CMS) has said the foundational piece. ONC missed the chance to embed the patient voice and patient centered design principals in all of their programs and are now playing catchup instead. Unfortunately this can be challenging when the consumer piece is being lead by ONC policy people and lawyers (ie - consumer rep at NeHC) who have never worked in healthcare nor run grass roots political campaigns let alone understand health IT and how transformative it can be. What they need are people who understand grass roots campaigns vs policy as well as people who use and understand technology. In the end however it isnt about "freeing" data or technology but using those tools to design care around the patient.