ONC advances plans for incorporating consumer preferences into EHRs

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is looking at ways to incorporate patient choices about the sharing and use of their health information, and about advanced directives into EHRs, according to a draft document on consumer preferences. Under the proposed standard laid out in the document, EHRs in physician practices and hospitals should be able to apply each patients' preferences automatically, and the options would be part of the interoperable data whenever a record is shared with another provider.

"It is important because that information could relate to advanced directives or DNRs (do not resuscitate orders)," Dr. Walter Suarez, co-chair of the Education, Communications and Outreach Committee of the advisory Health IT Standards Panel, said during a recent HITSP meeting, according to Government Health IT. Some details still need to be worked out, including how consumers might be able to limit the kinds of data they allow to be exchanged, for example, records of treatment for mental health.

ONC plans on making consumer preference part of the standards for health information interoperability under the federal EHR stimulus. "Hopefully, it will lead to some standards that are developed, and that the Health IT Standards Committee will then decide whether they are the best standards to support consumer preferences and aid exchanges," HITSP chairman Dr. John Halamka said.

ONC will update the draft in December after it reviews public comments that were due last Friday.

To learn more about including patient preferences in EHRs:
- click through to this Government Health IT story
- download the ONC draft (.pdf)