Patient/Consumer Involvement in Care Is Being Promoted by New Health Care Development

The United States’ Federal Government is seriously encouraging all of us (and by “all of us”, I mean people who are old enough to get a health plan on their own) to take control of our healthcare while protecting our privacy. The ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) of the HHS (Health and Human Services) released its PHR (Personal Health Record) Model Privacy Notice. ONC hopes that this will provide patients a better awareness of PHR vendors’ security, privacy and data/information sharing practices – the internet is filled with unscrupulous people who want to get their hands on other people’s personal details so that they can milk ’em for every penny! Secondly, CMS (Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services) and other Health and Human Services agencies gave proposed regulation that would offer patients direct access to lab test results. Taking control of your healthcare is really an awesome idea. Naturally, a large bulk of the unwillingness of doctors and carriers to make this data/information available is simply because the Federal Government got involved in the worker’s privacy rights; thus, making it risky for the carrier or provider to release any info. This is now their effort to make up for what they have started initially.

The Federal Governments’ New Health Care Plan put forward 2 initiatives:

1. PHR (Personal Health Record) Model Privacy Notice This will offer patients the opportunity to get access to their health information. This will include an internet based health info technology that patients can utilize in order to take complete control of their new health care. A couple of PHR offered by entities that are covered and subject to the 1996 Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act, the privacy law will apply. A few PHR offered by third party vendors are not subject to the privacy law. Lastly, template for PHR issued to regulate form, the template is not necessary for PHR vendors but for the benefit of patients.

2. Direct Patient Access to Lab Test Results The HIPAA privacy law is to be modified in order to allow patients the opportunity to have straight access to their lab test results. Patients have the legal rights to access, assess and get copies of their own healthcare record under the HIPPA’s privacy law. If the state does not make provision for straight access, the patient should go through a healthcare provider in order to get their lab test results.