Pretty much everyone agrees that helping patients understand and engage in their own health, well being, and health care is an important part of a safe, cost-effective, and high performing U.S. health system.
It makes no sense that despite the evidence that patients are still facing significant barriers to getting their own medical information., leading health care organizations, including the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS), and leading payers sit on their hands when providers do not remove barriers and provide patients easy and affordable access to their own medical information.
The solutions are not hard or technological. Today, with only a few exceptions, medical records are kept electronically, and the cost to transmit data is almost nothing.
Access would be opened and barriers lowered if these leading organizations would simply publicizing organizations not complying, reducing reimbursement payments, and assessing penalties for non-compliance.
Unfortunately for every American, the White House, Congress, HHS, CMS, and large commercial health insurance companies, have not taken much leadership in solving this long-standing problem. Sure, they’ll offer hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for health providers to convert to electronic medical records, and even announce new initiatives with great names, like “MyHealthEData,” intended to “trigger innovation, advance research to cure disease, and provide evidence-based treatment guidelines.” God forbid they actually helped Americans get the cost and medical information they must have to manage their own health.
Fortunately, even without leadership form these healthcare powers, some consumer driven organization like Apple or Amazon will eventually figure out how to give control of our medical records back to consumers and monetize providing consumers a simple, secure, and unobstructed digital service for collecting, storing, retrieving, and distributing their own health records.