A lot has changed in the health care and technology worlds since 1996, when the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, was signed into law, but much of how patients interact with their health care providers hasn’t, as this recent Vox article illustrates.
Fortunately, policy makers and IT vendors alike are working to change that by providing user-friendly tools that can help clinicians and providers more effectively share electronic health information with their patients. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology just released their Patient Engagement Playbook for Providers, a guide to rolling out electronic health record (EHR) patient portals. The playbook walks through how to facilitate easy enrollments to achieve high adoption rates, meet patient’s needs online in a way that makes your practice more efficient, and address concerns about privacy and access effectively.
Billed as less of an instruction manual and more a set of strategies and approaches, the playbook nonetheless makes a convincing case for how thoughtful implementation of an EHR portal can produce demonstrate improvements in care delivery and health outcomes. The full playbook can be accessed is at healthit.gov/playbook/pe/.