Patient involvement is critical to success of Meaningful Use program

One of the major purposes of the federal program for the Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHRs) is to produce improved clinical outcomes for patients. Providing patients access to their personal health information and having that information available to their families, caregivers and healthcare providers anywhere at any time is another core requirement of the Meaningful Use program.

In their Education Session 17, "Engaging Patients in Meaningful Use," today from 8 pm-9 pm CT, Bruce Henderson, national leader EHR/HIE Practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Glenn Mitchell, MD, MPH, CPE, CMO of Sisters of Mercy Health System, emphasize the importance of patient involvement in complying with Meaningful Use.

"It takes patient involvement to get the right amount of information about the patient – such as over the counter medications – that would impact treatment plans," Mitchell pointed out. In addition, with the trend toward transparency in the industry, patients need to be involved with the IT systems, which are going to be the infrastructure that enables them to get information about their care and its appropriateness in order for them to make intelligent choices and for clinicians to deliver the highest level of satisfaction for their patients, he said.

Healthcare providers need to ensure that the right planning and input on consumer satisfaction and involvement is in place, said Henderson. They need to be on board and be incentivized to use healthcare IT systems effectively and efficiently. Those who design, implement and service EHRs and personal health record (PHR) systems, as well as web-based applications, should also pay heed to promoting patient engagement through their products and services, Mitchell said.

The session will also highlight findings of a survey that map the progress of 300 hospitals on their way to achieving Meaningful Use of healthcare IT. Mitchell will provide Sisters of Mercy Health System's progress as well. From survey results, Henderson and Mitchell will look at ways patients and physicians are being engaged and discover how health systems can help physicians develop processes to design, use and support patient portal and PHR initiatives.

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