WASHINGTON, DC – It could soon be easier for patients to electronically access the health information held in their electronic records if new federal proposals come to fruition. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (and summarized at Pharmacist.com) outlines plans by CMS Administrator Seema Verma (pictured) to also require health insurers that offer government-backed plans, such as Medicare Advantage, managed Medicaid, and Affordable Care Act exchange coverage, to open up “new digital pathways.”
According to WSJ reporter Anna Wilde, “Verma says she would encourage insurers to offer the same service in employer plans. The federal government says at least 97% of hospitals have electronic health records, which can help improve patient care and convenience as well as develop valuable new artificial-intelligence-powered health care tools and allow drug-industry studies of the real-world effects of medicines. The new proposals have seven exceptions, such as if a health data request would impose an unreasonable burden or violate privacy practices.”
“At Brightree, we’re steadfast in our belief that in order to unlock the full potential of health IT, we need to connect as many participants in the health-care spectrum as possible; patients are a critical, but often neglected, piece of that puzzle,” said Rob Boeye, executive vice president, HME, at Brightree, in reaction to the article. “Having access to robust, complete medical records helps providers make more informed decisions while saving them time and energy on the back-end. Granting patients access to these files will help keep providers, health systems, and insurers accountable, and can help to further engage patients—a challenge the health-care industry is constantly trying to overcome.”
“From a consumer standpoint, expanded access is a good idea without a doubt,” added Bruce Gehring, senior vice president, Business Development, Allegiance Group. “I would love to have ease of access, not only to my medical records, but also to the cost of services under plans. It’s so difficult for consumers to figure out what’s going to get paid for and what’s not. If we can make it easier for consumers, they can make better choices.”
Brightree and Allegiance Group will be exhibiting at Medtrade Spring, scheduled for April 16-18, 2019, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.