Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

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Lack of Health Data Exchange, Access Frustrating Patients

Patients are feeling the frustration of limited health data exchange in their inability to access their health data in a straightforward way, according to a recent Surescripts survey.

- The health information network surveyed more than 1,000 adults in June as part of the 2016 Connected Care and Patient Experience report and the findings point overwhelmingly to patient dissatisfaction with how electronic health information is stored, accessed, and exchanged.

Health data exchange frustrations for patients

“Despite major medical and technological advancements in our country, and the fact that patients are more active consumers of care, healthcare is still inefficient, complex and unsatisfying for them,” Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said in a public statement. “We’re helping provide a more positive consumer experience by improving quality and efficiency, and reducing costs through better data access and sharing.”

The report yielded three major findings about patient health data exchange and access beliefs.

First, patients are in favor of having their medical information stored in a central location for the purposes of easing accessibility and information sharing, with 94 percent of respondents reporting wanting their data stored electronically in a single location. Ninety-eight percent support the notion that someone should have complete access to their medical records.

Moreover, 93 percent belief that provider access to medical history data would save time as a result. Similar numbers of patients viewed electronic access to centralized health information as a means of avoiding medical errors.

Patients are also willing to contribute additional health data to improve their care experience, with 77 percent, 69 percent, and 51 percent willing to share physical, insurance and mental health information, respectively.

As a result of fragmented health data, more than half of patients (58%) have attempted to compile their own medical history.

Second, patient views of the current state of heath data exchange and access are on the whole negative. Survey respondents reported the time spent on paperwork and verbally sharing their medical history during each doctor’s visit as sources of dissatisfaction. Most patients (80%) hold the belief that filling out paperwork should not be repeated beyond their initial visit.

Paperwork also negatively impacted the patient selection of providers relative to prescription.  Four in ten patients surveyed reported being less likely to visit a doctor who doesn’t prescribe electronically.

Third, patients are demonstrating an increasing preference for remote care innovations. Slightly more than half of respondents (52%) believe their doctors should offer remove visits. More than one-third (36%) expect most doctor’s visits to occur remotely over the next decade.

For respondents to the survey, remote care services and telehealth could address several of their inconveniences associated with prescriptions. Seventy percent and 64 percent of patients belief that remotely prescribed medications would be faster and easier than those requiring in-person visits, respectively.

Elsewhere in health data exchange

Fresh off reaching an agreement with CommonWell Health Alliance via Carequality, The Sequoia Project will convene healthcare stakeholders to address one significant health data exchange barrier, patient matching.

The Patient Identity Management Workgroup, once assembled, will take on the task of developing a patient identification framework to be implemented by initiatives overseen by the non-profit public-private collaborative.

“The Patient Identity Management Work Group represents the launch of a broader leadership initiative to convene industry and government to solve discreet health data sharing challenges,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “We look forward to sharing practical, implementable solutions with the broader industry to the benefit of all patients and providers.”

Recent language included in a federal appropriations bill has opened the door for the Department of Health & Human Services to examine “issues around patient matching.” While federal funding remains unavailable for unique health identifier development, HHS has the authority to educate Congress about the potential benefits of a nationwide approach to patient matching.

More than a score of organizations wrote the leaders of the House Committee on Appropriations in October in support of including patient matching language in the bill.

Dig Deeper:

Solutions for Addressing Health Information Exchange Challenges
Breakdown of Health IT Interoperability Standards, Organizations

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