Consumers are looking for a trusted source of data, but online searches produce a significant amount of inaccurate information. If we want people to use technology to gather data, and to be stewards of their own information, then we need to figure out how to improve the integrity of that data. There is a gap between the potential and the reality of telehealth. For example, only 15 percent of consumers have renewed a prescription online, only about one fourth want to adopt digital health records, and less than half think digital records will boost health care delivery. In response, the ONC developed several initiatives. In the Consumer e-Health Pledge Program (www.healthit.gov/pledge), more than 350 organizations (representing more than 100 million Americans) pledged to provide access to personal health information. Both data holders and non-data holders are encouraged to participate. ONC also looks to share real stories of people who have successfully used health information technology (e.g., the Million Hearts campaign, Beat Down Blood Pressure) with the intention of engaging more individuals. A current initiative rewards individuals for sharing stories of how having access to health records improved the quality of their care.
In the end, said Muntz, consumers need all the stakeholders to connect, communicate, and collaborate so they can better understand what an electronic health record can do.
Bonnie Britton, R.N., M.S.N., ATAF
Eastern North Carolina is very rural with a great deal of poverty, illiteracy, and chronic disease. Vidant Health is the largest health care system in North Carolina, serving 1.4 million people. Seven of the system’s 29 counties are among the top counties for chronic disease in all of North Carolina. As a result of previous experiences with telehealth in the state, Vidant Health developed a remote monitoring program for patients with cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease for all 10 of its hospitals. Vidant Health’s goal for the program was to identify inpatients to be referred to a telehealth program that would monitor their blood pressure, pulse, weight, and oxygen saturation in their homes on a daily basis. Additionally, the program incorporated a patient activation measurement tool, which assesses the patient’s engagement in their own health care. The program is directed at patients who score low on this tool—the patients who are distrustful or fearful of health care, who believe care is the responsibility of the health