ATA to Congress: Incentivize patient-generated health data

Congressional leaders were urged in a letter sent this week by organizations--including the American Telemedicine Association and the Continua Health Alliance--to consider incentivizing patient-generated health data. By doing so, the organizations write, patients would be "far more likely ... to make healthy lifestyle changes."

"The health and financial benefits of remote monitoring are significant," the letter says. "Clinical evidence has demonstrated that interoperable remote monitoring improves care, reduces hospitalizations, helps avoid complications and improves satisfaction, particularly for the most chronically ill."

The letter also mentions that remote monitoring could result in savings of $36 billion globally by 2018, as projected by a July report from Juniper Research.

The organizations--which also include the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Association for Competitive Technology--tell Congress that it needs to ensure that patient generated health data created via remote monitoring systems is addressed in federal efforts like Meaningful Use Stage 3.

"The benefits of PGHD enabled by remote monitoring devices are poised to transform the delivery of healthcare services in the United States," they say. "These benefits are especially important for rural areas where frequent visits by patients to medical facilities are more difficult to achieve. However, achieving these benefits will only be possible if EHR systems are required [through HHS incentives] to incorporate PGHD through open, voluntary standards. Meanwhile, HHS must encourage the wider adoption of remote monitoring systems by targeting those high-priority conditions which are likely to result in the largest [and] most immediate savings for the American healthcare system."

For example, research published in the September issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery found that wireless monitoring of mobility after major surgery "creates an opportunity for early identification and intervention in individual patients and could serve as a tool to evaluate and improve the process of care and to affect post-discharge outcomes."

The letter specifically was sent to Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.).

To learn more:
- here's the letter (.pdf)