HHS Consumer Health IT Summit power-charged for progress

Sept. 12 was a big day for healthcare IT. Federal officials hosted a consumer health IT summit, jam-packed with new initiatives to advance HIT. The event was charged with a wave of energy toward grass roots change, specifically supporting patient-centered care.

The summit, held at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. was part of the Sixth National Health IT Week, a collaborative event hosted by the Health Information and Management Systems Society.

Obama declares National Health IT Week, Sept. 11-16

President Barack Obama proclaimed   on Monday, in conjunction with the summit, that Sept. 11-16 would officially be federally recognized as National Health IT week going forward.

Farzad Mostashari, MD, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, who moderated the summit, emphasized the new exciting times healthcare IT now faces. "It now costs nearly nothing to share ideas instantaneously with anyone, anywhere," he said. "This is changing our world, and healthcare."

 "Patients have that right to access their health information," Mostashari added. "We are here today to make it easy for them to have that right."

 Sebelius reports 80,000 providers signed up for MU

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said healthcare IT will allow Americans to be part of their own healthcare. "I want to welcome you all to the conversation," she told the audience.

Sebelius reported that progress is moving rapidly, with 80,000 providers signed up to receive incentives for the meaningful use of electronic health records as of this week.

Seventy percent of the physicians targeted by the regional extension centers (RECs) a federal program to help guide providers in adopting healthcare IT have signed on for help. Rural states have been particularly eager to work with the RECs, Sebelius said, with Nebraska showing nearly every provider signed on.

 "The potential for patients in this change is enormous," she added.

 HHS proposes to allow patients direct access to lab results

As part of that change, HHS released a proposed rule on Monday that would allow patients access to their lab results directly from the lab.