Patient centricity: Patient empowerment lessons from the US

The US healthcare system undeniably faces significant challenges.

Despite spiralling costs and a high GDP spend, its patient outcomes fare very badly compared to similar countries, especially in measures such as life expectancy. There are also still significant challenges around affordable universal access.

But among the various challenges, there have been some very interesting regulatory landscape developments that could prove valuable for other health economies.

The Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHR), for example, gives strong incentives for patients to be able to access their health data via interfaces. This provides a toe-hold for patient centricity, where the patient is at centre of their health record and treatment by being in control of their own data.

The health economies which have tackled online record access to date have largely seen portals as a solution, providing a simplistic window into health records with a given provider and providing some basic transactional services such as appointment booking.

Meaningful Use stage 3, however, takes this to a new level requiring healthcare providers to not only make health records available online, but to ensure that this data is available to patients to access electronically via APIs.

APIs are digital glue, a programmatic means to access data which make it easier for apps and other services chosen by the individual to connect to existing data. And this is an important lesson for Europe, which is currently implementing GDPR with its greater rights to access and data portability in an electronic machine readable format.

Many of the US EHR system vendors have already openly published their API specifications using the international HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard (FHIR) and are now rolling these capabilities out in time for the 2019 deadline. Epic and its MyChart portal, the market leader according to respected KLAS ratings, is leading the charge with new health care providers going live every month.

Digi.me is already very active in the US Meaningful Use landscape, integrating with Epic and Cerner APIs as well as older file formats such as the Veterans Association’s Blue Button and CCDA. Digi.me is currently beta testing over 100 healthcare providers and actively seeking more partners and beta testers to work with.

As this access capability expands and rolls out, patient will be able to connect to their various portals and download a copy of their health record from each healthcare provider, giving them a single longitudinal care record with all data in one secure place which they truly own and control.

It’s important to remember that digi.me’s patent-pending technology with sophisticated Consent Access ensures digi.me as a company never sees, touches or holds any user data.

This approach empowers individuals with all their data and enables industry innovators to offer engaging services directly to individuals like never before, with access to richer, wider, longitudinal data with full user consent whilst maintaining maximum privacy and security.

The opportunities for healthcare providers to enhance patient experience by providing more personalised services and treatments through access to better data alone are highly beneficial. However, the opportunities go beyond this with a whole range of new and exciting opportunities in self care, self management, innovation and research.

For the tech community, the patient centric approach means a simplified interoperability landscape with fewer technical, privacy and security issues enabling more time to focus on solving healthcare challenges and user experience coupled with a faster route to market.

To find out more or get involved, contact us.

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