According to the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to the public’s health, “there is a consensus emerging in the health policy community that informed and engaged consumers have a vital role to play in improving the quality of care that the US health system delivers to patients. The question is how to ensure that they have the tools and information they need to play the role that is being asked of them” (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2007). In the current healthcare environment, consumer-maintained or accessible personal health records (PHRs) is a trend that is gaining significant momentum and is an important component of the national health information strategy. Some healthcare systems already offer PHR views into their EHRs through patient portals.
As consumers become more knowledgeable about healthcare matters, they seek access to more information about their own and their family members’ health and healthcare. The employer- and insurance-sponsored consumer-directed health plans also are encouraging patients to become more knowledgeable about health and healthcare. This trend affects health information management, as HIM professionals become not only patient advocates in the emerging electronic health information environment, but also knowledge and content experts related to consumer rights, needs, and modes of access to their personal health information. Although this changing model for engaging consumers in their healthcare and healthcare decision making is forecasted and signs of its emergence in practice are everywhere, just what form it will take is not at all clear. This lack of clear direction presents a real-life strategic challenge for HIM professionals who must consider plausible alternate futures for engaging with consumers to serve their needs for access to health information and their electronic health records.
In a minimum of 300 words, respond to the following questions listed below. Use APA format for any references used.
1. How might the development of personal health records change the role of HIM professionals who work for healthcare organizations?
2. What types of personal health record products and services are on the market today, and what might consumers look for in a product or service?
3. What does research tell us about consumer attitudes toward health information?