ONC touts progress on integrating patient-generated data

The Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) adopted recommendations from its Consumer Empowerment Workgroup on patient-generated health data (PGHD) at its December meeting and is expected to finalize its complete Stage 3 recommendations in February.

The committee reaffirmed that its objective--"patients [should] have the ability to electronically submit patient-generated health information"--should be part of Meaningful Use Stage 3, according to a report from a technical expert panel convened at the request of the Office of the National Coordinator.

This data, which could be submitted by a patient, caregiver or other designee, "could be an observation, a test result, a device finding, a confirmation or a change/correction/addition of data in the patient's existing health record"--data collected outside the clinical visit, explains a blog post at Health IT Buzz.

"As 2013 draws to a close, we are pleased to report that a lot of progress has made," writes Mary Jo Deering, senior policy advisor in the Office of Policy and Planning, of the ONC's efforts to better understand and implement policies concerning this data.

The reports note that providers are concerned about possibly being overwhelmed with data from patients and the staff time required to process it. Patients, meanwhile, are concerned about whether their doctors will actually see the information they submit.

The consumer workgroup suggested that PGHD could be submitted through structured or semi-structured questionnaires with secure messaging and possibly through devices.  It's still working to identify standards to support this objective and to determine whether standards are mature enough to support data collection from devices. As with all health data, privacy and security are major concerns, and interoperability poses challenges as well.

The group is looking at standards that would allow systems to note which data the patient submitted and which originated from the provider.

Patient portal technology from different vendors varies in its ability to meet requirements for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, KLAS Research reported in September. Stage 3 is expected to require even greater functionality, it noted, such as requiring providers to offer patients the capability of submitting patient-generated information and the ability to request amendments of their records online.

The American Telemedicine Association, HIMSS and several other organizations have been advocating that Stage 3  include the "full panoply" of patient health data, including PGHD from remote monitoring systems.

To learn more:
- find the report (.pdf)
- read the Health IT Buzz post