National Partnership for Women & Families

Consumer Advocate Says Proposed Meaningful Use Rule Can Advance Patient-Centered Care, Vows to Work Tirelessly to Protect, Strengthen Key Provisions

Statement of Christine Bechtel, Vice President, National Partnership for Women & Families and Member, Health IT Policy Committee
Washington, D.C. — February 23, 2012 —
"The proposed Stage 2 rule released today is a very promising and important step to advance the use of health information technology (IT) in ways that are meaningful to patients and families. This new rule can promote the kind of patient-centered care Americans urgently need. We commend the administration for this proposal, in particular because it will give more patients the tools to access and manage their own health information electronically. Our comprehensive survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and released last week, found that patients value this functionality and that it increases trust by adding transparency to the health care system.

The proposed rule moves us toward a new day when patients can download their health information from a range of providers to a secure place of their choosing, and transmit it to their care professionals or upload it to a mobile app. We are pleased that it will allow patients to send secure electronic messages to their doctors — that is long overdue. All these advances will make life easier for patients and their family caregivers who are trying to navigate the health care system, while also making care delivery more efficient and effective for providers. And most importantly, the proposal acknowledges the vital role that doctors and health professionals play in ensuring that patients use these services. Experience from the first stage of this program proves that, without active physician leadership in encouraging patients to use online access, only a minority of patients will benefit, despite the fact that more than three-quarters of patients say they want it in our new survey. We will fight any efforts to gut this provision in the final rule.

Equally important, the rule proposed today has the potential to advance the use of technology to coordinate care across providers and with patients and families. The delivery system changes now being tested and implemented under the Affordable Care Act rely on coordinated care. We cannot achieve the triple aim of better care, lower costs and better population health without secure information exchange between providers, and without engaging patients in their care. This rule could make critical advances in both areas, if the administration retains only the most robust information exchange criteria. We intend to work tirelessly with the administration in the weeks ahead to strengthen this and other key aspects of this proposed rule."

Contact

Cindy Romero (202) 986-2600 cromero@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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