Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Requirement to Provide Patients an Electronic Copy of Their Record

The proposed rule on meaningful use will require that patients are provided with an electronic copy of their health information (including diagnostic test results, problem list, medication lists, and allergies) upon request. This must also be accomplished within 96 hours of the information being available to the provider. The relevant section from page 1857 of the proposed rule published in the Federal Register states:
Electronic access may be provided by a number of secure electronic methods (for example, PHR, patient portal, CD, USB drive). Timely is defined as within 96 hours of the information being available to the EP either through the receipt of final lab results or a patient interaction that updates the EP’s knowledge of the patient’s health. We judge 96 hours to be a reasonable amount of time to ensure that certified EHR technology is up to date. We welcome comment on if a shorter or longer time is advantageous.
Using patient portals and personal health records are probably the best way to accomplish this. CD's and flash drives could present serious security problems. The aggressive time frame (96 hours) makes providing this information to the patient via a patient portal or PHR the most probable way many providers and EHR vendors will seek to meet this criteria. I recommend the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Feature: The Power and Potential of Personal Health Records as a great resource to learn everything you ever wanted to know about PHR's (and then some).

Many of the major EHR vendors have PHR/Patient Portal solutions integrated into their offerings: