Electronic Health Records

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mHealth groups: Put patient generated data in Stage 3 MU

By Jennifer Bresnick

A number of mHealth groups including the American Telemedicine Association, HIMSS, and the Center for Data Innovation are pushing for the inclusion of patient-generated data as a feature in Stage 3 of Meaningful Use.  In a letter to the Health IT Policy Committee, the groups argue that patient-provided data from remote monitoring, telehealth, and mHealth tools is a critical aspect of health information that cannot be ignored.

“Remote monitoring connects patients, care providers and medical professionals, virtually anywhere facilitating ongoing care and treatment wherever and whenever it needs to happen,” the letter states.  “We cannot fully underscore how important it is for the HITPC to recommend the use and integration of patient-generated health data as part of the MU Stage 3 requirements. The health and financial benefits of remote patient monitoring are significant.”

With the mobile health market projected to grow by billions of dollars, telehealth has the potential to save up to $36 billion worldwide, the letter asserts, and has seen an enormous amount of interest from patients and providers alike as a tool to improve communication and reduce unnecessary services.  Accordingly, mHealth should be integrated into the latter stages of Meaningful Use in order to show providers how it can become fundamental to the more efficient delivery of are.

The groups would also like to see the Policy Committee encourage interoperable standards for future telemedicine products and services in alignment with the push for data exchange across all health IT systems.  “As you continue to work through recommendations on MU Stage 3, we believe HHS should ensure that patient generated health data created by remote monitoring systems is fully enabled.  Specifically, the HITPC should recommend that under the CMS Incentive Payment Program, EHR systems should be required to incorporate open, voluntary, and consensus-based industry standards for interoperability with remote patient monitoring devices, services, and systems.”

A recent report by the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) Technical Expert Panel found that patient-generated data can add clinical value to a patient’s ongoing care, especially for those suffering from chronic diseases that need regular monitoring such as diabetes.  While providers maintain that patient data may add yet another cumbersome step to an already-burdened workflow, NeHC found that patients are willing to take direction on what might be valuable and what is superfluous.

Interoperable telehealth as part of Stage 3 would “further ONC’s goals to enable systemic engagement with patients, care providers, medical professionals and other healthcare stakeholders,” the letter concludes.  “Involving this data will engage patients in their own care, can lead to improved lifestyle choices and improve overall health.”




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