A Call to Action from HiMSS

For those of you who are not geeks, or not healthcare geeks, I have spent the last week in Chicago at the biggest HIT (Health IT) “geek-out” in the world. Some 42,000+ people gathered in Chicago for the annual HiMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) meeting. It is truly an overwhelming experience. On the first full day of the conference I got lost twice. Not an IMG_8195auspicious start.
As a member of the Connected Patient Committee for HiMMS, I participated in the Patient Engagement Symposium which brought together individuals passionate about using HIT to improve health in patients and communities. ONC representative Lana Moriarty (Office of the National Coordinator) spoke to the government’s goals along these lines. E-patient Dave Bronkart, a celebrity among patients passionate to change our healthcare system into a patient-centered and patient-empowered one,  came to watch  his personal physician discuss changing care models and shared decision making. Amy Gleason of CareSync presented the patient’s viewpoint when it comes to dealing with multiple portals. The highlight of the day was a call to action, voiced below in the video by Regina Holliday, well-known advocate for patient access to medical records. The “call” was made by Dr. Farzad Mostashari, former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On the day before the conference began, CMS (Center for Medicare Services) proposed dropping the Meaningful Use (MU) requirement in Stage 2 (of three) from 5% of patients being able to view, download or transmit their medical records to ONE patient. Most individuals in the patient advocacy arena feel this proposed change sends a message to health systems and providers that patient access to their records is either no longer a priority or special interests have pushed this change of heart. This seems particularly odd in an environment of increased encouragement of patient involvement in their own healthcare.  NoMUwithoutMEDr. Farzad, e-patient Dave, Ms. Holliday, and myself are just a few of the many individuals who think this is the wrong message to send. As a consequence a Day of DataIndependence on July 4 has been declared, and patients are asked to request electronic access to their medical records by calling their physicians and hospitals and asking for their medical records in electronic format.
If access to your medical records, or your family’s medical records, is important to you (and it certainly should be!) watch this space for more information in the next few weeks.  For information from the Society for Participatory Medicine regarding this issue, follow this link: No MU without ME.

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Thoughts on MedX

This morning I sit in my daughter’s San Francisco apartment pondering the barrage of information that I was exposed to during the previous three days at the Stanford MedX conference. My mind is full of images that begin with Regina Holliday‘s beautiful pre-conference canvas

Representation of a part of the canvas

and end with my friends Lisa Fields and Ruth Ann Crystal; relationships made over the internet through Social Media and cemented by meeting IRL (in real life).

Ruth Ann Crystal, myself, Lisa Fields

The conference was a showcase of healthcare innovation and opportunities to network with empowered patients from the Society for Participatory Medicine and other like-minded health professionals. The epatients’ stories along with Regina Holliday’s exhortations to “change the world NOW” were the most compelling part of the program. Over the next few weeks I hope my mind processes what was learned and results in more ideas for changes that improve patient experience in my practice and, who knows, even in my healthcare system.

Flash mob on stage with Regina Holliday (in red)

At first, when asked by other participants why I came to Stanford, I wasn’t immediately sure. I made the reservation out of a gut reaction but by day two my motivation was obvious: MedX provides the energy and focus necessary to change our broken healthcare system. Tim Autrey of the Practicing Perfection Institute commented in his workshop that change must start with the individual. This individual began over a year ago but the MedX conference provided a powerful infusion of energy to improve my personal relationships with patients and exhort my system to do the same. Thank you Dr. Larry Chu, Nick Dawson and the staff who worked so hard to make the conference the success it has become.

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