ONC launches video challenge to spur PHR use

By Erin McCann
09:50 AM
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Officials at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have announced the initiation of their "What's in Your Health Record??" video challenge, a project aimed at spurring patient involvement with their personal health record data.

ONC officials say the video contest is intended to first emphasize a patient’s legal right to access these records – a right afforded by the HIPAA Privacy Rule – and, second, illustrate the importance of how being informed and involved with one’s health record can lead to improved care overall. 

Individuals and teams are encouraged to submit short videos sharing their personal stories on how receiving a copy of their health record and actively examining the information improved the overall quality of their care and helped the them as a patient better understand their own health. Submissions will be accepted up until August 20, and winners will be announced September 20. Six awards totaling to $7,200 will be presented to the winners. 

[See also: ONC asks for feedback on PHR privacy, security .]

Dave deBronkart, an advisory board member for the video challenge who's more commonly known as e-Patient Dave, is a strong proponent of the ONC challenge. He cited numerous examples of patient record errors that could easily be remedied if the patient simply requested a copy of their health record and took the time to examine it. 

Recounting from his own experience, deBronkart remembered reviewing one of his X-ray reports and noticed it identified him as a 53-year-old female, despite his legal name listed on the record. He also mentioned that his wife’s penicillin allergy was missing from her medical record, an omission that could have caused severe health consequences. “If the patient and family just take a look, they can quickly update the information. Nobody is in a better position, and nobody has more at stake,” deBronkart said. 

"Know thy health record" doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it as the old Greek aphorism, "Know thyself," but the ONC hopes its new endeavor will bring some semblance of enlightenment to the patient as well as a whole lot better care. Leon Rodriguez, director at HHS' Office for Civil Rights, wrote in a May statement that "health information is critical to all patients so that they can track their profess through wellness programs, monitor chronic conditions, communicate with their treatment teams, and adhere to their important treatment plans.”

[See also: Health record offers chance to get personal.]

Erin Poetter, policy analyst office of Consumer eHealth said one reason the ONC initiated this video challenge is because they expect more people are "interested in hearing from others like them about why they’ve gotten access or why they’ve requested their information and what they’ve found once they looked inside," as opposed to the government saying, "We think you should do this."

Poetter added that "we’re hoping to crowd-source ideas from real people to motivate others because we think that having access to your information and then using that information is a critical first step to being a more engaged patient and partner."