Seeing health IT through patients' eyes

The National eHealth Collaborative on Monday released a framework to guide the transition from provider-centered health IT to a system built around patients.

The collaborative’s Patient Engagement Framework outlines five major phases from the perspective of patients: inform me, engage me, empower me, partner with me and support my e-community.

The “inform me” and “engage me” steps align with the first stage of “meaningful use” requirements. Health-care providers must demonstrate that they have achieved “meaningful use” of electronic health records to qualify for incentive payments under Medicare and Medicaid. Most providers either have or are attesting to Stage 1 meaningful use now.

“Empower me” aligns with Stage 2 of meaningful use, in which EHR performance evaluation depends more heavily on patient engagement. Providers must begin meeting Stage 2 in 2014, and Stage 3 in 2016. “Partner with me” aligns with Stage 3 meaningful use.

The fifth stage, “support my e-community,” is a guide for a robust collaborative system that integrates providers, such as dentists and chiropractors, into a patient’s electronic record and lets patients control access to records and privacy, among other enhancements.  

“The patient is the point of health information, and a framework for systematically keeping the patient’s interests at the center of health information technology helps us move toward higher-performance, higher-value health care,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer and president of clinical services at the Hospital Corporation of America, in a news release. “This is a great way for health care to measure how prepared they are for patient engagement.”

The framework “is organized to build on an organization’s capabilities including information and way-finding, e-tools, forms and patient education, patient access to their information, patient role in generating their information, and patient role in the care team,” the National eHealth Collaborative said in the news release.

The Washington-based collaborative describes itself as a neutral public-private partnership that is working to accelerate progress toward secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange.