Mar 06 2018

Trump Administration Aims for User-Friendly Electronic Health Records

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a new initiative, MyHealthEData, which is designed to give patients more control of their healthcare data.

It won't be your grandpa's EHR. The Trump administration wants to give patients more control over their electronic healthcare records

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced a new administration initiative called "MyHealthEData" on Tuesday at the HIMSS 2018 conference in Las Vegas.

The new program is led by the White House Office of American Innovation with participation from Health and Human Services Department and CMS, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans Affairs Department

More details about the plan need to be fleshed out, but in a statement, CMS says that "MyHealthEData will help to break down the barriers that prevent patients from having electronic access and true control of their own health records from the device or application of their choice." Additionally, CMS says, patients will be able to choose the provider "that best meets their needs and then give that provider secure access to their data, leading to greater competition and reducing costs."

Under the vision laid out by CMS, patients will not only electronically receive a copy of their entire health record, but will also be able to "share their data with whomever they want, making the patient the center of the healthcare system." Patients will be able to use their EHR data "to actively seek out providers and services that meet their unique healthcare needs, have a better understanding of their overall health, prevent disease, and make more informed decisions about their care," under MyHealthEData, according to CMS. 

As Bloomberg News notes, there are longstanding issues related to EHR access and portability: 

The question of how information from medical records can be shared securely with patients and among different healthcare providers has long vexed the industry. While many healthcare records have been digitized in the past decade, hospitals and doctors haven’t yet realized broad productivity gains from the transformation. That’s partly because even digital records are often limited to one healthcare provider’s system, and competing systems don’t communicate with each other.

Verma said at the conference that CMS will no longer tolerate healthcare providers and health IT vendors blocking competitors from getting access to patients' healthcare data. “Let me be crystal clear, the days of finding creative ways to trap patients in your system must end,” she said, according to Health Data Management. “It’s not acceptable to limit patient records or to prevent them and their doctor from seeing their complete history outside a particular healthcare system.”

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