Will patients get on board with CMS’s new health data approach?


CMS is turning to patients to help drive health information technology toward greater interoperability, accessibility, and usability – elusive goals that have not been reached by working with health care professionals and IT vendors alone.

MyHealthEData makes it clear that patients should have access and control to share their data with whomever they want, making the patient the center of our health system,” Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said at the annual HIMSS conference. “Patients need to be able to control their information and know that it is secure and private. Having access to their medical information will help them make decisions about their care and have a better understanding of their health.”

Seema Verma CMS

Seema Verma

She added that “once information is freely flowing from the patient to the provider, the advances in coordinated, value-based care and patient-centric care will be even greater than anything we can imagine today.”

The agency’s vision “is to empower patients by giving them direct access and control over their claims and EHR data. Patients could share their data with applications designed to help them make more informed health care decisions of with their providers and caregivers to help better manage their care,” Ms. Verma said in an interview.

For example, the initiative could lead to the development of products such as the following:

  • Mobile apps to help patients manage medications and medical appointments.
  • Simple processes that carry patients’ data when they switch providers or health insurance plans.
  • Wearables, such as step trackers or glucose monitors, that are linked to patients’ clinical record.

To get to this future health IT nirvana, CMS will need to address the ongoing interoperability issues that continue to plague EHRs. And that’s where CMS is turning its efforts back to helping clinicians.

The agency “will be announcing a complete overhaul of the meaningful use program for hospitals and the advancing care information performance category of the Quality Payment Program,” Ms. Verma announced at HIMSS.

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