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HIM Groups Partner with GetMyHealthData for Patient Data Access

The campaign has shifted its focus toward streamlining patient data access, rather than on consumer demand.

By Sara Heath

- The process for patient data access may soon become easier, thanks to a new initiative from the GetMyHealthData campaign, sponsored by the National Partnership for Women and Families.

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According to a press release, several key industry stakeholders have signed onto the campaign, including the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), accountable care company Aledade, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Flip the Clinic.

The GetMyHealthData campaign began one year ago, when industry experts and representatives from the National Partnership sought to show the consumer demand for their own health data, and highlight the barriers to patient access to health data.

However, after a year’s work, the campaign is reportedly shifting its direction, hence its partnerships with the above-mentioned organizations.

“At the end of the day, our theory that unleashing consumer demand would unlock health data was wrong. Consumer demand is there. But requesting health data is more costly, time consuming and difficult than previously known,” said Christine Bechtel, GetMyHealthData coordinator and advisor to the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Going forward, GetMyHealthData will work with AHIMA, Aledade, and Flip the Clinic to streamline the process by which patients may receive their health data, making such practices an industry standard.

“Now we have an incredible opportunity to modernize the process so data access becomes easy, automated and routine. We’re excited to announce that leading organizations have committed to innovative strategies that will make this possible,” Bechtel explained.

At Aledade, individual accountable care organizations will pilot different strategies to make it easier for patients to access their health data. Through these pilots, the group will highlight the financial benefits of such patient-centered policies.

“We will assess the impact of this strategy on health care utilization and cost through pilots with practices in order to strengthen the business case for others to follow our lead,” said Farzad Mostashari, Aledade co-founder and CEO and former national coordinator for health information technology.

At AHIMA, organization members will work collaboratively to develop a standardized form which patients can fill out in exchange for this health data.

“We are looking forward to working with our members to develop a model release of information form that patients can use to request their health information from any health care provider,” said American Health Information Management Association CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon.

“The model form will use plain language so patients can understand all their options and get the data they need delivered to them in the most convenient and effective way.”

Flip the Clinic, which has been working with GetMyHealthData since its beginnings last July, reportedly plans on examining the needs of both patients and providers to develop a middle pathway for patient data access.

“We’re eager to further our ongoing partnership with GetMyHealthData through the launch of a new ecosystem of Flips to capture what works for clinicians and patients to harness the power of digital health information and co-create the best path to transmit data to patient-selected mobile apps,” said Flip the Clinic director Whitney Zatzkin.

Ideally, the industry participation will not end there. According to Bechtel, the campaign hopes AHIMA, Aledade, and Flip the Clinic’s efforts will spark a trend throughout the industry to start focusing on patient’s access to health data.

“The work of these exemplars will bring us closer to the day when getting health data is as easy as online banking,” Bechtel said. “Now it’s time for other organizations to assess their own practices, address gaps and share their successes with GetMyHealthData.”

All of this is great news for the National Partnership for Women and Families, says organization president Debra L. Ness. As the campaign and its associated partners continue to shine a light on patient access to health data, patient advocacy will continue to grow.

“GetMyHealthData has shined a spotlight on the challenges patients and family caregivers face in leveraging health information technology to support engagement in their health and care,” Ness said. “The National Partnership looks forward to continuing to collect and share stories about the challenges and successes individuals face in getting their health data.”

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