Why Is Patient Health Information Access Important?

According to The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), patients have more opportunities today than ever before to use tools such as patient portals to access their health information. But have you ever tried to get your medical records from your doctor? Actually, it’s not that easy.

A 2013 change to the HIPAA Act requires providers to give medical records in an electronic format to those that request it. While HIPAA gives patients the right to receive copies of their health information, providers and payers haven’t always made that request easy by requiring the completion of paperwork and other obstacles, such as high fees, to receiving electronic formats of the data that can be placed in an app or other location.

(source: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/medical-records-requests-ahima-x4-ciox-hipaa-electronic-access)

Enabling Patients To Access Their Data

Health IT and patient portals enable individuals to access their own health data. Providing patients with access to their health information is necessary in delivering high quality care and to ensure patients get efficient care where and when they need it.

For example, during an emergency or disaster like recent hurricane Florence, patient information may be needed at a facility unknown to the patient. According to HIPAA, “providers and health plans covered by the HIPAA Privacy Rule can share patient information in all of the following ways: healthcare providers can share patient information as necessary to provide treatment; sharing information with other providers (including hospitals and clinics); referring patients for treatment (including linking patients with available providers in areas where the patients have relocated); and  coordinating patient care with others (such as emergency relief workers or others that can help in finding patients appropriate health services).”

Patients can use tools “such as the EHR, patient portals, AHIMA’s myPHR.com, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) “Keep It With You: Personal Medical Information Form”, and the Veterans Administration’s Blue Button, all of which can be extremely beneficial in emergency situations for awareness of conditions, medications, allergies, etc. The challenge will be in the reliability and validity of that information.”

(source: https://www.icd10monitor.com/healthcare-and-hurricane-preparedness)

The problem is that most healthcare entities don’t know all the options patients have available under HIPAA and blame HIPAA for the inability to share electronic information. That’s why a group of health IT experts including AHIMA have developed a new tool called “wizard” to streamline patient medical records requests. “Wizard” is a medical records request tool that streamlines the process for both patients and health information professionals. It helps patients articulate what they need, in what format and by when. The result is a HIPAA-compliant document delivered to the healthcare provider’s medical records specialist.

(source: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/medical-records-requests-ahima-x4-ciox-hipaa-electronic-access)

These efforts to boost patient data access will help to improve patient engagement and enable shared decision-making between patients and providers by streamlining the healthcare environment.

The use of technology is critical to support high-quality patient care and patient safety and the ability of clinicians to treat patients effectively. We at PCG are here to help you explore innovations as to how new tools will improve your patient data and patient care.

Visit us at https://primeauconsultinggroup.com

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