Electronic Health Records
September 13, 2011
Putting the ‘I’ in Health IT
At a Health and Human Services event today, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius kicked off a summit with more than 25 health care stakeholder organizations, of which Kaiser Permanente was one, that have pledged to empower consumers by making it easier for them to get secure access to their health information to engage more fully in their health.
“When it comes to health care, information is power. When patients have their lab results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make better decisions and receive better care,” said Secretary Sebelius. “This Summit offers a unique opportunity for the public and private sectors alike to share strategies to improve consumer access to their health information, while safeguarding the privacy and security of their data.”
The Summit highlighted vital benefits of electronic health records and health IT, including:
- Health IT empowers patients. For example, people at risk for heart attacks may use mobile health applications to manage their weight, diet, and medication adherence.
- Health IT can facilitate lasting quality improvements, which can lead to greater efficiency and cost savings in the long-term.
- Health IT is driving innovation in all parts of consumers’ lives — from new interactive applications to devices like digital pedometers and other devices that capture important health information from everyday experiences.
- Health IT helps coordinate better care, and can be a powerful tool if you or a loved one is managing a serious medical condition.
- Health IT has robust security and all users, from patients to caregivers to doctors, can easily and safely access and share health information electronically.
- Health IT may help diagnose health problems sooner, avoid medical errors and provide safer care which can result in lower costs.
“We are at a critical moment in time when we can either choose to innovate, or lag behind in care,” said National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari, MD. “A commitment by health care stakeholders to support health IT and provide greater consumer access to their health information is the first step toward a healthier future.”
In the coming year, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will work with health care stakeholders to further consumer access to information and empower consumers to become active participants in their health. The new website, www.HealthIT.gov creates dedicated consumer-oriented information that describes the benefits of health IT, provides consumer health education materials and will be a valuable resource for learning about new advances in health IT.
Kaiser Permanente, a long-time leader in health information technology, reiterated its commitment to patient access to health information and was lauded for its staggering personal health records adoption rates. Currently, more than 3.6 million Kaiser Permanente members, 60 percent of the eligible population, have activated their PHR on kp.org, and in 2011 Q2 alone, nearly 26 million visits were made to kp.org and more than 188,000 new members registered for access to My Health Manager. More than 40 percent of PHR users signed-on five or more times in the last six months and more than 850,000 secure e-mail messages are sent each month to Kaiser Permanente doctors and clinicians, demonstrating growing consumer interest in e-visits.
For more information on the event, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/09/20110912a.html.