The Health IT ecosystem is being driven toward an incentive-driven model through the implementation of Meaningful Use as the government standard for using Electronic Health Records (EHR). In a recent article for Health Data Management, Greg Slabodkin described how Meaningful Use Stage 3 could witness the end of patient portals.
The current relationship between patients, healthcare providers and third-party portals leaves many patients’ medical records disconnected across multiple platforms spread between several providers. Eric Galvez is interoperability and exchange portfolio manager for the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator), and he believes that many patients refrain from using portals “because a lot of them aren’t useful—at least at this point in time.”
A big part of what Stage 3 is looking to achieve is better access to patient records in actionable format. This includes the three tenets of allowing patients to “view, download and transmit” health information. The proposed use of APIs would certainly satisfy the interoperability requirements and also reduce costs while improving access. The dynamic nature of APIs can provide faster access to records in formats that are useful to each individual patient in a way the portals cannot offer. Patients will be able to exercise better control over their records, making them more use to patients and providers alike.
“The point of doing the APIs is to spur innovation and make the data more accessible so that folks can innovate around providing patients with the ability to view, download and transmit data,” said Jodi Daniel, director of ONC’s Office of Policy. Innovative, API-driven solutions will surely render patient portals obsolete as Health IT moves towards a more connected model.