Posted by:Richard Smith June 26th, 2014

Empower Me! Yes this is what Meaningful Use Stage 3 is all about in a nutshell. Whereas Stage 1 focused on making healthcare data more accessible, Stage 2 touched upon Patient Engagement. Stage 3 initial recommendations, recently out for public comments, seem to be a step ahead in engaging patients.

The world is going mobile. It seems nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet and mobile apps are omnipresent. It took quite a while for the providers to leverage the EHR benefits, but this time around they are not keen on repeating the mistake with mobile technologies. The signs of the mobile revolution are everywhere and Physicians are leading the change.

As the role of mobile devices in Meaningful Use continues, its maximum role can be realized in stage 3 as is evident from the punchline “Empower Me”.

Some of the draft recommendations for MU stage 3 are:

  • Offer electronic self-management tools to patients with high-priority health conditions.

  • Give EHR systems the capability to exchange data with personal health record services using standards-based health data exchange.

  • Give patients the ability to report online their experiences based on set care measures.

  • Incorporate into EHR systems and clinical workflows such patient-generated data as home monitoring data and suggestions for error corrections.

  • Test the EHR system’s ability to receive and present public health alerts and follow-up requests. Submit, if accepted electronically, notifiable conditions using a reportable "public health button."

  • Submit patient-generated data to public health agencies.

A browse through the above requirements brings to light two important concepts: “Medical device interoperability and patient reported outcomes” and “Patient-generated health information”.

Medical device interoperability and patient reported outcomes

Patient reported outcomes are ideally done on mobile devices because they’re always on, always with the patient and always connected. If there is an outcome to report, the same can be achieved in the moment either by text message or a mobile app. The emphasis on using mobile devices for delivering patient reported outcomes can be attributed to the inherent strengths of such everyday gadgets as mobile phones and tablets. MU stage 3 may prove to be the much required incentive for healthcare providers to find more ways to integrate mobile devices into their services, while making it easier for patients to access them.

Patient-generated health information

What exactly is patient-generated health information?

Patient-generated health information could include patient experience, pre-visit information, patient-created health goals and advance directives.

What would be the benefits and challenges of accepting it electronically?

A research team has recently demonstrated specific benefits of electronically accepting and incorporating patient-generated health information through the use of technologies such as smartphone apps, sensors, and iPads.

These researchers worked with patients and providers to track ODLs (Observations of Daily Living) that were meaningful to the patients. By sharing their ODL data, patients helped clinicians readily identify the disease’s triggers, significantly reducing the discomfort that accompanies the chronic condition.

Therefore it is for us to realize that it is easy for people to capture information from their lives and share it with clinicians, doing which they feel empowered to take a more active role in their health — and this engagement can lead to better outcomes in terms of better clinical treatment plans and better informed decision-making.

Tapping into the wide networks of mobile devices in delivering health support empowers both healthcare providers and patients. The addition of mobile enabled monitoring devices like blood pressure cuffs and scales, and technology such as barcode scanners, are redefining traditional care.

The changing payment models and the Meaningful Use requirements are enabling us not only to use mobile devices but to integrate them in the care and make them a reality.

So currently there are mobile, mobile everywhere but none talk to each other! Stage 3 proposed rules is here to provide the impetus to make them talk!

How well do you think mobile technologies and mobile apps will cature patient generated health information? Do you believe it will bring down the healthcare cost?

Providers have embraced mobile apps. But are their patients benefitting from it? Check out the Infographic below –

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