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Today (11:59pm ET) is the deadline for public comments on the proposed rollback of “Meaningful Use 2” regulations for patient access to their medical records. SPM feels that this is a major issue for enabling patient-provider partnerships; as SPM co-chair Dr. Danny Sands often says, “How can patients participate if they can’t see what I see??”

SPM’s action page is here, and the blog post by SPM health policy chair, attorney David Harlow, is here. You can speak up – and should! This is open to citizens – you don’t have to be as erudite as policy experts.

I (and I imagine most of SPM) feels that the issues are common sense, not rocket science. For instance, John Boden of ElderIssues LLC has corresponded with me from time to time, and has recently sent me some editorials from the Palm Beach Post, like the one at left: Taxpayers need better access to health records. Excerpt:

Have you looked up your medical records using your computer or smartphone yet?

Why not? You should. If you’re a taxpayer, you’ve paid for the right to do this. You’ve paid a lot.

A decade ago, the Bush administration hired Rand Corp. scholars to research how much could be saved if the medical system ditched paper charts and went digital. … Their study envisioned newly empowered patients taking charge of their chronic diseases with the help of seamless information technology, no longer enduring duplicative tests — or worse, mistakes — because their doctors didn’t talk to each other. …

Back in Washington, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finds itself at a crossroads. Harried doctors and hospitals have demanded a weakening of the “meaningful use” patient-access standard. How low would it go? The agency would greenlight stimulus payments to hospitals so long as a single patient — just one — successfully looked at his or her digital medical record. The existing standard is an already low 5 percent.

That would pretty well wipe out any compelling business reason for tech companies to create consumer-focused patient portals.

Note that although arguments about health policy often split along philosophical or party lines, John Boden is not your stereotypical “left-wing Commie pinko” (as it used to be called when I was young…)  He’s a Vietnam combat veteran (helicopter pilot), is deeply involved in helping people manage elder care in the retiree-heavy state of Florida, and he correctly ties the whole idea to the Bush administration’s Rand Corp report that documented the projected savings.

In addition to the above links, our original post was “No MU without ME”: join the campaign to fight health data hiding. And to sum it up concisely and clearly, here’s SPM member Casey Quinlan’s excellent cartoon edition – clear, simple, yet accurate.

bitstrips image

(c) Mighty Casey Media | Creative Commons 4.0 Non-Commercial

Taxpayer-patients do deserve good, robust, easy to use access. Please do comment! If you want, you can paste in a link. Again, the deadline is 11:59pm ET today (Monday June 15).


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