ONC launches tool to help patients navigate health data

The online resource offers tips for accessing and using the information stored in electronic health records.
By Mike Miliard
10:43 AM
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ONC patients health data

Credit: healthIT.gov

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology unveiled the new ONC Guide to Getting and Using your Health Records, a resource for individuals, patients and caregivers.

The new project aims to enable the patient access goals of both the 21st Century Cures Act and new MyHealthEData announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at HIMSS18.

[Also: Seema Verma rolls out new CMS interoperability initiatives at HIMSS18]

ONC’s Guide to Getting and Using your Health Records offers a list of tips for gaining electronic access to data, gives advice to help patients ensure their records are complete, correct, and up-to-date; and offers perspective on making best use of EHRs, such as sharing records for better care coordination and incorporating apps and other consumer tools.

ONC data shows that half of Americans said they were offered access to an online medical record by a provider or insurer in 2017, and that eight in 10 of those who viewed their health data said it was easy to understand and useful for managing their health.

But nearly half of those were offered access to their data didn't take advantage of it, with many citing a perceived lack of need as one of the reasons for not accessing their record. There are also concerns that some patients don't understand their right under HIPAA to see their own data, according to ONC.

"It’s important that patients and their caregivers have access to their own health information so they can make decisions about their care and treatments," said National Coordinator for Health IT Don Rucker, MD. "This guide will help answer some of the questions that patients may have when asking for their health information."

CMS is participants in the new initiative, along with the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com