- Fourteen organizations including AHIMA, X4 Health, CareJourney, and CARIN Alliance recently launched a new health IT tool designed to offer users an easier way to request EHR patient data.
A team of health IT developers and organizations led by healthcare consulting firm X4 Health joined together to address existing problems with EHR patient data access. Specifically, the team wanted to help patients avoid the cumbersome process of filling out paperwork to obtain copies of their EHRs from providers in apps or other secure locations.
The prototype tool that resulted from this multi-stakeholder partnership is the Health Record Request Wizard. The tool is designed to streamline and simplify patient EHR request processes. The Wizard also helps patients receive their EHR data in digital formats.
“The Wizard is a game-changer for patients, families, and health care providers alike,” said X4 Health President and co-founder Christine Bechtel. “This tool will help bring an outdated process into the 21st century and make it easier to obtain and organize health records in electronic formats, ultimately helping create a comprehensive picture of a person's health.”
This effort to streamline EHR patient data requests was supported by a grant from the CommonWealth Fund.
The team launched the tool after a year of research and development to improve upon AHIMA’s previous model for EHR patient data requests.
“The Wizard takes the model form, developed by our member volunteers at AHIMA, one step further,” said AHIMA Vice President for Policy and Government Relations Pamela L. Lane. “It provides an innovative tool that can be used by health information management professionals to change workflow processing for consumer-generated information requests.”
“The Wizard will help create ever-better consumer engagement experiences by streamlining complexity in the healthcare environment,” continued Lane.
The health IT tool is designed to help consumers request the type of information they need from their healthcare provider’s medical records specialist in the format they want at any time. The tool delivers these specific requests to medical records specialists in HIPAA-compliant documents.
“The Wizard is a true consensus-driven reference implementation for something we so desperately need – an easy way for patients to request digital copies of their health data in the form and format of their choice,” said CareJourney President Aneesh Chopra.
Several organizations including health technology company CIOX have already committed to incorporating aspects of the Wizard project or the health IT tool into their work.
“These organizations are forward-thinking leaders who believe in putting the needs of consumers first when it comes to their health data,” said Bechtel.
The tool is a digital smart form that leverages branch logic and skip patterns to allow users to make specific requests to providers.
“We're enthusiastic about integrating the lessons learned from the Wizard into our products as part of our commitment to ensuring accurate and usable clinical data gets into the hands of those who need it most – doctors and patients,” said CIOX CEO Paul Roma.
Organizations committed to using the tool include AHIMA, CareJourney, CARIN Alliance, Door County Medical Center, Marshfield Clinic Health System, National Partnership for Women & Families, Texas State University Department of Health Information Management, University of Wisconsin HIM and Technology Program, and six others.
Healthcare organizations and health IT developers including representatives from AHIMA, CARIN Alliance, CareJourney, and Swellbox were involved in the development and testing of the health IT tool.
“By designing the Wizard with key stakeholders – patients, medical records professionals, apps, and others – it offers an 'easy button' for implementation,” said Chopra.