ONC Seeks To Increase Consumer Engagement in Health IT Initiatives

During this week's Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, officials from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT said that they plan to increase their focus on consumer engagement in health IT, HealthLeaders Media reports.

National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari said, "All too often it is the patient who is not just the courier of their [health] records, but the one in the best position to coordinate their care." He noted that patient engagement is a crucial part of the meaningful use of electronic health records.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

ONC's Consumer-Focused Goals

Lygeia Ricciardi, ONC's senior adviser for consumer eHealth, outlined some of the agency's consumer-focused goals, which include:

  • Providing consumers with access to their health data;
  • Making it easier for consumers to use their health information; and
  • Shifting attitudes about ownership of health data so physicians will be more willing to share data with patients and other health care providers.

ONC Seeks Help Engaging Consumers

Ricciardi said that ONC cannot be solely responsible for engaging consumers in health IT, adding that health IT vendors and health care providers also could contribute to the effort.

For example, she said, nurses are well-positioned to advocate for patients and help them get access to their health data (Shaw, HealthLeaders Media, 9/29).

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