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Moving ownership of patient records to the patient via a cloud-based portal is a viable solution for breaking down today's barriers of health data exchange. But, will it work?

Patients Owning Their Health Data – Will This Work? 

These days, the most popular media stories in the HIT arena are all about health data interoperability.

A key driver of this trend is the ONC’s recently released Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) for public comment. In short, this new framework is intended to streamline patient health data access and improve interoperability.

While the new framework is being applauded by many industry organizations, there have been other new ideas about breaking down today’s interoperability barriers.

A recent Modern Medicine guest article suggests that moving ownership of patient records to the patient via a cloud-based portal or other universally accessible system might be the answer.

“Patients need to be involved,” said Patricia, Product Manager at RosettaHealth. “Electronic health records are only as efficient as the person entering the data and the software extracting the data or used to view it.  Too often, the data is not accurate or added to the incorrect record or the software is not built to display results efficiently.  Patients need to realize that they are also responsible for ensuring that their health records are complete and accurate, and should be given the opportunity to review all versions including their electronic records.”

Though, having patients be part of the equation – through ownership of the data – is certainly a very viable solution, but there may also be challenges.

For example, most patients are only active with their records when they are sick, or are receiving care. Typically, a patient health record would not be something that is viewed and managed as frequently as a bank account or even a stock portfolio by the patient.

In addition, most patients may not be willing to pay for the ownership rights to the data. On top of this, as highlighted in the Modern Medicine article, EHRs, vendors and providers already have access to tremendous amounts of data, and will not want to give this up.

More viable solutions will be the ONC’s upcoming rule on information blocking by HIT vendors. Also, the current iteration of the Trusted Exchange Framework aims to create a single on-ramp to health-care data exchange for all providers.

With an expanded push by government and industry to break down the walls of health data interoperability, all ideas are certainly welcome. And, thankfully, many organizations are working on directly addressing this issue.