Friday, June 14, 2013

Park: Better Patient Engagement Will Boost Overall Health System

During an address at the Health Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park emphasized the importance of patients' engagement in their own health care, FierceHealthIT reports.
Details of Park's Comments
Park said, "Patient engagement -- to quote Leonard Kish -- might be the blockbuster drug of the 21st century," adding, "This will vastly improve our health care system."
He said, "From the very top of government, we're incredibly serious about making sure patients can get a copy of their own records."
Park noted that more than 88 million Americans to date have used the online Blue Button tool, which allows patients to download their own health records. That number is expected to reach 115 million by the end of the year, he said.
He added that sequestration has not impeded Blue Button efforts (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 6/7).
Health Leaders Push for More Data Use To Boost Patient Care
Also at the summit, several health care leaders discussed how greater use of data can improve patient care.
David Chao -- CTO at the Advisory Board Company -- said that the current status quo in health care delivery is not acceptable. He added that when the right questions are asked, data can "pop" and be "provocative". The Advisory Board Company produces iHealthBeat for the California HealthCare Foundation.
Anil Jain -- chief medical information officer of Explorsys, a health care software platform -- said that the use of data is how physicians and CIOs get transparency on what really is happening. He said, "We have to balance the value the information brings with the privacy and safety of patients."
David Muntz -- principal deputy national coordinator at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT -- said that while he and others at the summit support health data privacy, he sees the benefit of increased data sharing and making patients the custodians of their records (Gold [1], FierceHealthIT, 6/7)
Privacy Experts Criticize Health Data Security Efforts
Meanwhile, privacy experts at the summit discussed health data breaches and organizations' security policies.
Omar Khawaja -- a global project manager for Verizon -- said the reactionary approach to health data security breaches is problematic. He said, "It takes months just to contain the breach."
Bill Turner -- chief privacy and security officer of Allium Healthcare, a technology and consulting firm -- said most of the privacy errors he sees are the result of human error.
M. Peter Adler -- health and cybersecurity counsel and chief privacy officer for government affairs for Fairfax, Va.-based technology provider SRA International -- said that data governance is an effective way to prevent and combat breaches, "creating a model where you have stakeholders that are going to help with protection" (Gold [2], FierceHealthIT, 6/7).

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