Guest post by Bettina Experton, MD, MPH, CEO of Humetrix.
The HITECH Act and its $30 billion attached budget mainly focused on building a provider-based health IT (HIT) infrastructure for providers to exchange patient health information. Two years after its implementation and the adoption of Stages 1 and 2 of meaningful use (MU 1 and MU 2) requirements for the use of electronic health records (EHRs), the federal government, EHR industry and providers across the country can claim remarkable results: more than 55 percent of hospitals and close to 50 percent of primary care physicians were using basic EHRs in 2012 (versus 10 percent, and 14 pecent respectively in 2009).
Now that the building of an HIT infrastructure is well underway, the capacity of the newly deployed provider EHRs to allow for health information exchange (HIE) remains limited. The persistent lack of interoperability of the more than 1,200 MU-certified EHRs and the scalability issues attached to provider-centric means of HIE leave policy makers, providers and especially patients wishing for a novel approach to achieving true anytime, anywhere HIE.
In almost all other economic and social activities, personal information exchange is driven by the consumer. In banking for instance, whether it is online, using mobile apps or ATM cards, consumers direct and mediate the necessary exchange of their personal information to enable and complete the desired transactions. The days of mainly bank-to-bank transactions by letters of credit are long gone. The convenience and control of today’s online and mobile banking services make them universally used around the globe.