ONC seeks more input on tech to support patient involvement

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has been working to change focus from technology to support physicians to technology that centers on patients. Publishing an issue brief summing up the work done so far and what remains, the office is also asking for public input.

"A little over a year ago, we embarked on an effort to look to a long term future, where health IT and communications technology could support people in managing their own health and partnering in their health care. We engaged visionaries and subject matter experts to help us develop a policy framework for putting the person more at the center of their own health and health care, enabled by health IT," writes Jodi G. Daniel, Director of the Office of Policy and Planning, in a post at Health IT Buzz.

It points to efforts such as Blue Button Plus, Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) and expansion of the Investing in Innovation ("i2") Program that have focused on using technology to improve care and give patients more access to their own information.

Use of patient-generated health data that still requires work to develop effective policies to ensure its privacy, security and appropriate use, the paper points out. The Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) adopted recommendations from its Consumer Empowerment Workgroup's recommendations on patient-generated health data (PGHD) at its December meeting and is expected to finalize its complete Stage 3 recommendations in February.

According to the paper, data poses an area of opportunity through technology that can:

  • Show trends in diverse health status measures, including deviations from normal for the given individual.
  • Facilitate the aggregation of health and health care information for individuals and populations from diverse sources, including non-clinical information, if desired.

Technology also can enable "light touches" with the healthcare system that don't necessarily need to be in person, such as answer patient questions about side effects to a particular medication.

The paper advocates encouraging online communities on social media and building competence in technology-enabled self- and shared health care management.

To learn more:
- here's the Health IT Buzz post
- find the issue brief (.pdf)