The U.S. Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) has launched a campaign for both health care providers and systems as well as health care consumers/patients to pledge to make personal health information accessible and used by health care consumers/patients, “to empower individuals to be partners in their health through health IT”.

For those who manage or maintain individually identifiable health data (e.g., providers, hospitals, payers, retail pharmacies) ONCHIT invites the following pledge:

We pledge to make it easier for individuals and their caregivers to have secure, timely, and electronic access to their health information. We further encourage individuals to use this information to improve their health and their care.

In support of the pledge, ONCHIT encourages the following actions:

1. Make personal health information (complete health record and/or a subset such as a visit summary) available to individuals and their caregivers in a secure, timely, and usable manner consistent with applicable law via one or both of the following methods:

  • Download personal health information from a secure portal (for example, viaBlue Button  or a similar format)
  • Send information to a personally-controlled electronic health record (for example, via Direct  or similar protocols)

2. Ask your staff (e.g. doctors and other healthcare providers, insurance representatives) to play a leadership role in encouraging individuals to access and use their personal health information to meet their personal health goals while maintaining their privacy.

For those who do not manage or maintain consumer health data, but have the ability to educate consumers about the importance of getting access to and using their health information (e.g., employers, consumer and disease-based organizations, health care associations, product developers) ONCHIT invites you the following pledge:

We pledge to engage and empower individuals to be partners in their health through information technology.

Some suggested ways to support the pledge are listed below. ONCHIT encourages the use of materials available at www.healthit.gov as resources:

  • Engage your employees, members, or constituents in a dialogue about health IT and the importance and value of consumer access to and use of electronic health information (including help understanding how to obtain access to this information and what type of information to request).
  • Draft an organization-wide message from your CEO or Executive Director on the campaign and pledge.
  • Participate in a social media campaign about consumer access to health information.
  • Engage employees/members/the public in designing innovative ways to use electronic personal health information to improve health and health care.
  • Convene public discussions bringing together providers, consumer groups, and patients/caregivers to discuss ways to use electronic health information to achieve community health goals.
  • As employers, ask the health plans you directly contract with to join the pledge for Data Holders.

As product developers, develop tools or features that support consumer engagement in overall health and health care using electronic health information.

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