A little known electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use guideline covers a patient’s ability to acquire copies of their health records in an electronic format. Physicians & hospitals that have implemented an EHR system certified for stage one meaningful use should have no problem exporting summary files that may be carried by patients and imported into other certified systems.
Patients need only request their electronic records and healthcare providers are obligated to supply them, in a format known as a continuity of care document (CCD), within three business days. The video below demonstrates an example of the electronic file supplied to patients.
While providing electronic health data directly to patients is a great start, there are some omissions that will hopefully be corrected in future stages of meaningful use. The current CCD specifications include clinical data that may prove beneficial in an emergency setting (e.g. allergies, medications, lab results, etc.) . However, the summary record is currently inadequate for a transfer from one primary care physician to another.
Data not required in the current version of the CCD:
1. Family history
2. Surgical history and imaging
3. Social history
4. Office visit documentation including vital signs, etc.
5. Insurance information
Patient use of a portable electronic record may also raise some important questions:
1. How often should a patient request an electronic health record update?
2. What protocols should providers and hospitals put in place to ensure that they are supplying electronic health records to patients in compliance with meaningful use while adhering to HIPAA and other applicable laws?
3. What protocols should providers and hospitals put in place to handle importing a CCD brought in by a patient from another provider?
4. If a patient produces a CCD, is a provider obligated to act on the data? What limitations might there be?
Questions like these, and many many more, will be posed to Drury’s graduate certificate in digital health communication participants.