FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Leading Health, Consumer Organizations Outline Formula for Achieving Patient-Centered Care, Enabled by Health IT
Groups Put Patients at the Center of Defining "Meaningful Use"
WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 15, 2009 — The Consumer Partnership for e-Health (CPeH) has released Getting to Patient-Centered Care: How Health IT Can Meet the Needs of Patients and Their Families offering for the first time a definition of ‘meaningful use’ of health information technology (health IT) from a consumer and patient-centered perspective. If adopted, this definition can significantly improve health care. CPeH submitted the recommendations to the federal HIT Policy Committee responsible for overseeing the implementation of health IT nationwide; the committee meets tomorrow and is anticipated to discuss making a recommendation to the federal government on a definition of “meaningful use.”
“Our recommendations would give patients unprecedented, up-to-date access to meaningful health information and the tools to use it, which enables them to work alongside their providers in managing their health. This is what we should strive for in order to fully engage and meet the needs of patients and their families,” said Debra L. Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, which leads the Consumer Partnership for e-Health.
The new recommendations focus on innovative “patient-facing” uses of health information enabled by health IT to help ensure quality care. For example, CPeH advises that patients get a “care summary” that outlines essential information to help them manage their health on a daily basis including a prescription list, lab results and referrals plus reminders about preventive services, medications and follow-up care.
Patients, the recommendations say, should have the ability to contribute their own health data, like daily weight, blood pressure readings, or symptoms, for use by their providers. CPeH also recommends promoting individualized care by reminding health care providers about patient preferences, health goals and preferred language.
“Historically, consumers and patients have not had simple, direct ways to access their own personal health information. This level of transparency, with strong protections for patient privacy, is essential to engaging patients as central members of the care team,” said Deven McGraw, Director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, also a CPeH partner.
CPeH also contends that successful health care reform requires a fundamental shift from a delivery system that is centered on the needs of providers and payers, to one that supports consumer participation and teamwork between patients and providers. “We know that consumers put a high priority on the doctor-patient relationship. Electronic health records, personal health records, and other HIT tools have the potential to make that relationship much stronger by giving consumers the tools to be more informed and involved in their own care,” said Steven Findlay, Senior Health Policy Analyst with Consumers Union, a member of CPeH. “Patient-centered care strategies will get us better quality care but also more value for our health care dollar.”
Click here to see Getting to Patient-Centered Care: How Health IT Can Meet the Needs of Patients and Their Families.
The Consumer Partnership for e-Health is a non-partisan group of consumer, patient, and labor organizations dedicated to improving health care quality and achieving a patient-centered health care system through expanded use of information technology and knowledge sharing.