HHS Encourages More Patients to Use Electronic Records
Article date: September 22, 2011
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing new rules that would give patients greater control over their electronic health information. The change would allow patients to receive test result reports directly from labs.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the proposal at the first-ever HHS Consumer Health Information Technology (IT) Summit, in which consumers, providers, and the public and private sectors discussed how to best empower consumers to use IT to take more control over their own health.
“When it comes to health care, information is power. When patients have their lab results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make better decisions and receive better care,” said Sebelius. “This Summit offers a unique opportunity for the public and private sectors alike to share strategies to improve consumer access to their health information, while safeguarding the privacy and security of their data.”
The new rules would amend the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
The announcement coincided with the HHS unveiling of its new Web site, HealthIT.gov. The Web site encourages health providers and patients to use electronic record-keeping to organize health information.
According to the Web site, more and more people are using personal health records (PHRs) to manage their own health information. PHRs are different from electronic health records (EHRs). Information in an EHR is typically entered by and accessed by health care providers.
A PHR is created by the individual and may include health information from a variety of sources, including multiple health care providers and the patients themselves. PHRs are increasingly being offered electronically to patients through health plans, health care providers, employers, and independent vendors. These tools offer a wide variety of features for obtaining, storing, and understanding health information. Typically, patients can view information such as lab results, immunization history, or due dates for certain screenings.
Circle Of Sharing
The American Cancer Society’s Circle Of Sharing tool can help cancer patients create a PHR. Users enter details about their diagnosis, treatments, and side effects. These details are stored securely in Microsoft HealthVault. The Circle Of Sharing tool provides links to American Cancer Society information specific to the details each user has entered, and users can decide whether to share that information with providers, family members, or anyone else involved in their care.
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.
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