Electronic Health Records

Policy & Regulation News

Patient-generated data, EHR sharing can add clinical value

By Jennifer Bresnick

Patient-generated health data (PGHD) and the sharing and mutual review of EHR data can add clinical value to a patient’s care, according to a report by the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) Technical Expert Panel assigned to explore the subject.  Patients who take their blood pressure at home, monitor blood glucose daily, or keep track of their weight have always shared this information with clinicians, but ahead of Stage 3 of meaningful use, this data is being codified and studied as a discrete phenomenon that promotes patient engagement and better understanding of their own health when used in the proper context.

Stage 3 of meaningful use under the EHR Incentive Programs may include the electronic acceptance and daily use of PGHD, even as patients routinely begin to collect metrics about weight, sleep quality, exercise completed, calories consumed and burned, and blood pressure using mHealth devices or home monitoring equipment.  Patients want to know that if and when they share this data, it is being appropriately received and perused by their provider, kept private and secure, and saved in their EHR, NeHC says.

Providers, however, have concerns about the time and effort it might take to accept large volumes of PGHD.  With physicians already experiencing productivity losses due to EHR adoption and the upcoming ICD-10 transition, providers want to be sure that PGHD has a positive impact on patient care.  Patients appreciate guidance from providers on this matter, NeHC reports, and want to understand how and when the information is appropriate to share.  Explaining how PGHD will be used – and how it won’t be used – can ensure that both providers and patients have clear expectations.

And patients aren’t the only ones who should be sharing data, NeHC says.  Providers can improve engagement and prompt accountable choices by allowing patients to view EHR data, such as radiology reports, lab results, and even their standard medical history.  On one hand, this lets patients feel like part of the process.  On the other hand, it provides an opportunity for patients to correct information or provide additional detail that may have been left out by the provider.  This mutual exchange of information provides clarity on both sides of the desk, and can help clinicians better assist in a patient’s care.

In order to prepare for the integration of patient-provided data in the daily workflow, providers should consider PGHD acceptance as a part of their basic service mentality, and train their employees as such.  Providers must also be clear about managing patient expectations, and help them understand how such data will be used.  Providers should also review their technical capacity to accept and integrate such data into an EHR, whether through a patient portal, secure messaging, or directly from a collection device.

Clear policies and clear expectations can make PGHD a valuable addition to the daily workflow, the report concludes.  Patients and providers who understand the value and context of such data can use it to enhance the care experience, increase accountable behaviors, and boost patient engagement to meet meaningful use standards and improve the overall patient experience.  While Stage 3 is still a few years off, providers who prepare to receive PGHD will not only be ahead of the meaningful use game, but will also add a desirable customer-oriented service to their repertoire.




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