Patients Will Be Viewing Your EMR?

Healthcare providers must face the next HIPAA frontier: Stage 2 Meaningful Use.  Starting October 1, 2013, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in some hospitals must provide patients with an ability to access their electronic records.  To meet the requirement, some patients must access the information in the EMR.  If this requirement is not met, the hospital’s reimbursement will decrease.  Many doctors are concerned.

“In [HIPAA] Stage 2, providers have to offer at least half of their Medicare populations online access to their own records and, significantly, 5 percent of these patients actually have to log in and either enter their own data or send unsolicited messages back to providers.

For the first time, there is a financial incentive to “engage” patients in their own care: Hospitals and health care professionals must meet all the requirements or they lose out on extra Medicare and Medicaid payments (there is no partial credit). That has a lot of executives concerned….

Having a physician penalized for something a patient doesn’t do is troubling,” says Dr. Howard J. Luks, chief of sports medicine and arthroscopy at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.   A strong proponent of social media in medicine, Luks publicizes his email address and Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts on his website and on his business cards. The response has been underwhelming. “The number of people who reach out are very low,” Luks reports.”

US World & News Reports, September 6, 2013

Stage 2 Meaningful Use will roll out over time to all healthcare providers.  Many doctors’ offices bought an EMR and met the Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria but are far from being prepared for Stage 2.  All healthcare providers need to be looking at their EMR computer systems to determine whether they can comply.

The key will be whether their EMR has these capabilities.  The next step is to determine how can the patient interact with the EMR.  The EMR must be easy to access and the information must be valuable to the patient.  Often, medical information is too complex for the average person to understand.  Additionally, many EMRs are built for doctors, not for patients.  If the information in the EMR is of no value to the patient, the patient won’t access it.

Share your ideas here and tell us how your office is preparing for your patients access to your EMR.  We’d love to hear from you.

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