Blue Button Plus, other identifiers can reverse 'information asymmetry'

Providing patients with access to their own information and reasserting the primacy of the physician-patient relationship can reverse the "information asymmetry" that favors big healthcare corporations at the expense of patients and individual physicians, according to a post at The Health Care Blog.

Adrian Gropper, M.D., chief technical officer of the nonprofit Patient Privacy Rights writes that information asymmetry drives $3,000 in annual waste per citizen amid a health IT "certification" process that seems designed to drive small vendors and open-source software out of the market.

Even analytics-fueled population health management, however, doesn't have to increase information asymmetry when used with patient involvement in efforts such as Blue Button Plus and standards for developing secure patient identifiers, he writes.

He urges policymakers to put consumer protection ahead of politics, including doing the following:

  • Confirm the patient's right to access all information using Blue Button Plus so they can delegate that access to the physicians and analytics services they trust.
  • Confirm the patient's right to specify a voluntary identity for patient matching when they participate in health information exchange.
  • Confirm the patient's right to a real-time online accounting of disclosures so that they can know who is getting their information and what they're seeing.

The American Health Information Management Association has urged its 67,000 members to adopt BlueButton, and the state of California chose Humetrix's iBlueButton app to participate in its Health Information Exchange (HIE) pilot.

Secure accounting of disclosures, however, still requires some technical work. The Privacy and Security Tiger Team that advises the Health IT Policy Committee is looking to pilot projects to test technology for updating accounting of disclosure requirements for protected health information. Those pilots could help assess whether technical capabilities to support accounting of disclosures should even be included in future stages of Meaningful Use.

To learn more:
- here's the post in The Health Care Blog

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