Never before have I been part of a community where the ratio of “talking” to “doing” is so out of balance. The Meaningful Use Stage 2 proposed rules up the ante on patient engagement, and in a study just released by NeHC, 95% of respondents understood that increased patient engagement is important to the transformation of healthcare.
Ninety-five percent! And yet, sharing data with patients hardly ever happens. Why would that be? It seems to me, the only possible reasons would be:
- It’s really hard,
- It’s really expensive,
- People are lying and don’t actually believe it’s important, or
- We’ve just allowed ourselves to get really lazy.
Honestly, while “lying” is a strong word --- there’s more than a little bit of #3 at work here. It’s hard to miss the paternalistic attitude that many providers take towards their patients. Plus, the free flow of information certainly creates a more competitive market. And let’s not forget that (thanks to our silly reimbursement system) better treatment usually means less fee-for-service revenue. But that all kind of “is what it is” --- so it’s not worth dwelling on.
What about “hard” and “expensive”? Well, connecting to HealthVault in the USA is free. As in free. And assuming your EHR can create a CCD file (part of MU Stage 1), here’s the code it takes to send it to your patients using HealthVault (seriously):
String guidRequest = Guid.NewGuid().ToString();
XmlDocument doc = new XmlDocument();
List<HealthRecordItem> itemList = new List<HealthRecordItem>();
itemList.Add(new HealthRecordItem(CCD.TypeId, doc));
OfflineWebApplicationConnection conn = new OfflineWebApplicationConnection(APP_ID, PLATFORM_URL, Guid.Empty);
String code = ConnectPackage.Create(conn, APP_NAME, QUESTION, ANSWER, guidRequest, itemList);
If you want your own ready-made application for this, check out the sample code on my blog. But really, do you buy that this is a challenge for your EHR vendor? Really?
So by my scorecard, the answer has to be #4 --- we’ve just let ourselves get lazy. And the sooner patients recognize that and demand better service --- the better. We’ll be here waiting, and providing great service for those providers and patients that are living in the modern world. It’s pretty healthy over here!