HITN Responds to the Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Patient Engagement

Patient Engagement Key to Healthcare Outcomes and Costs

Joel White, Executive Director of the Health IT Now Coalition, issued the following statement in response to the Senate HELP Committee hearing on patient engagement:

“Nearly 20 years ago, Congress answered the concerns of patients nationwide by passing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to give patients a legal right to access their health information. In 2009, the HITECH Act gave patients the right to an electronic copy of their information. These were major steps in patient engagement; however, significant barriers remain that must be addressed.

Excessive fees, delays, and difficultly accessing information stored in multiple locations are currently hindering patients’ access to their health information. As a result, patients have poorer health outcomes and increased costs. It is unacceptable that millions of dollars are spent every year on duplicate tests and procedures simply because neither the patient nor the provider has access to medical records.

Studies have shown that engaged patients tend to be significantly more likely to seek preventive care, and chronically ill patients with a more active role in their care are more likely to adhere to treatment.  Furthermore, patients who are less engaged in their care have 8 to 21 percent higher costs due to increased hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

We look forward to working with the Committee on enacting legislative changes to ensure patients have access to their health information when and where they need it, in the form requested, in order to better their health at lower costs.”

The Health IT Now Coalition promotes the rapid deployment of heath information technology. Health IT will benefit patients and health care consumers while supporting health practitioners to make smart decisions about patient care while promoting efficiency. For more information, visit www.healthitnow.org