HHS Releases a New Resource to Help Individuals Access and Use Their Health Information

The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released the ONC Guide to Getting and Using your Health Records, a new online resource for individuals, patients, and caregivers.

This new resource supports both the 21st Century Cures Act goal of empowering patients and improving patients’ access to their electronic health information and the recently announced MyHealthEData initiative. The new initiative, led by the White House Office of American Innovation and supported by ONC, empowers patients by giving them control of their healthcare information.  Other participants in the effort include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It’s important that patients and their caregivers have access to their own health information so they can make decisions about their care and treatments,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “This guide will help answer some of the questions that patients may have when asking for their health information.”

Individuals’ ability to access and use their health information electronically is a measure of interoperability and a cornerstone of ONC’s efforts to increase patient engagement, improve health outcomes, and advance person-centered health.

In fact, a new ONC data brief – PDF shows that in 2017, half of Americans reported they were offered access to an online medical record by a provider or insurer. This is up from 42 percent in 2014. Over half of individuals who were offered online access viewed their record with the past year.  Eight in 10 of the individuals who viewed their information rated their online medical records as both easy to understand and useful for monitoring their health. These positive perceptions may be attributed to individuals’ varied use of online medical records, including viewing test results; managing their health needs with greater convenience; communicating with their health care provider; self-management and treatment decision-making; and contributing information to and correcting errors in their medical record.

However, challenges remain.  Almost half of Americans in 2017 who were offered access to an online medical record did not access their record, frequently citing a perceived lack of need as one of the reasons for not accessing their record. Consumers may not understand their right (under the HIPAA Privacy Rule) to access their health information nor realize the benefits of accessing their health information. ONC outlined the challenges patients face in accessing their health information electronically in a report – PDF released in June 2017.

“The ONC Guide to Getting and Using your Health Records” informs patients and consumers about the value of health information, and provides individuals with clear, actionable advice on how to:

  • Get their health record, including offering tips through the process of accessing their records electronically,
  • Check their health record to make sure it is complete, correct, and up-to-date, and
  • Use their electronic health records, such as sharing their records to better coordinate their care and using apps and other digital technologies to better manage and improve their health.

To view the ONC Guide to Getting, Checking, and Using your Health Records, visit: HealthIT.gov.

Additional information on individuals’ right to access their health information under the HIPAA Privacy Rule is available at: https://www.hhs.gov/getitcheckituseit

The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.

To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at davidhiggins@southernmarylandchronicle.com

Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II




© 2019 The Southern Maryland Chronicle. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.