iHealthbeat is reporting that, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute report, health care providers might not meet Stage 2 meaningful use rules unless they more actively engage patients about their role in the use of health IT. For the report, PwC surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers and more than 300 health care executives in fall 2010. According to the report, 82% of the 300 health care executives surveyed expect their organization to achieve meaningful use before penalties go into effect in 2015, down from 90% in spring of last year.
Bruce Henderson, director and national leader of the EHR and health information exchange practice at PwC, said hospitals will need to fold in patient input into efforts to comply with Stage 2 criteria of the meaningful use program. Stage 2 rules could require health care providers to offer patients more thorough access to online medical data, according to the report. However, the report found that 30% of patients do not know why they would need to get their medical files electronically. The report also stated that patients are required to populate many commercial personal health records. ' According to PwC, integrating PHRs with a health care provider's EHR system could remove that task from the patient and give health care providers more accurate patient information.
In addition, the report found that:
- 66% of consumer respondents want physicians to use their electronic health care data to follow up on medical conditions
- 50% obtain their health information by calling their health care provider and requesting a paper copy
- 35% want their physicians to use their electronic medical information to monitor treatment compliance
- About 25% want to be able to share electronic health data with family members to better understand medical histories
- 13% have been asked by their physicians for their thoughts about EHRs (Healthcare IT News, 2/23).
Although the National Coordinator for Health IT, David Blumenthal, has dubbed 2011 the beginning of the "era of Meaningful Use", it is clear that it is not clear what Meaningful Uses actually means. What is however becoming increasingly clear is that unless the health care system does substantially more to engage patients and consumers as equal partners in the health care system, we may not be successful in addressing health care disparities nor achieving the national health goals we all desire and believe are possible.