MedCity Influencers

Health IT Inducing the Self health Management Culture

I have always advocated for self health management. Although physicians know a lot about the human anatomy, we are capable of judging our own bodies. “We all know that health does not happen in the doctor’s office. It happens with the patient.” said the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari during one of […]

I have always advocated for self health management. Although physicians know a lot about the human anatomy, we are capable of judging our own bodies. “We all know that health does not happen in the doctor’s office. It happens with the patient.” said the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari during one of his talks. Patients should primarily be in control of their health. By fostering a culture of care coordination and promoting preventive care measures, we can achieve much better results.

 

Health IT is steering us towards this goal. With the introduction of electronic medical records (EMR), health information today is moving towards complete digitization. This not only ensures better accessibility to care, it also provides further benefits such as health data management, medical information sharing, clinical research and care outreach. The idea was to bring healthcare to one platform and connect them, which is why EMRs were introduced and Health Information Exchange was encouraged.

However, while the health IT industry has established a care community, it has also facilitated patients as they are able to access their medical information using patient portals. “Previously, you would not get your medical records, unless the situation was pretty serious. Now, you can utilize patient portals to look up your medical information, request for changes and learn about diseases through the educational material.” says one patient.

Patient engagement is a necessary aspect of the healthcare reform. We have witnessed this requirement being reflected in the government’s EMR meaningful use program. While stage 1 required physicians to be able to provide patients with electronic copies of their records, the latter stages call for more patient interaction. The meaningful use stage 3 advising committee released their preliminary suggestions earlier, calling for physicians to enable patients to be able to receive clinical readings, submit medical history and modify their health information within EMRs.

A number of health IT experts believe this to be the right time as IT has influenced every household and most individuals now carry smart phones and connecting devices. “Automated alerts and reminders help ensure that a patient is taking their medication or needs to come in for a follow-up. These are small changes but in today’s busy schedule, they can make all the difference.” says one physician.

Recent studies have shown that patients report an increased perception of service value when given the opportunity to look at their provider notes within an EMR. “Patients want to be more involved and health IT is doing that. We can now look forward to models of continued care instead of waiting for a sick person to walk in to our doors.” says a Nurse Practitioner.

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