5. Reach patients through a trusted source. People trust their personal docs—and so it should fall primarily to the primary care physician to "sell" patients on the idea of personal health records. "We need physicians and patients to start talking about how these tools can improve their communication and assist patients to be more in control of their own health," says Sam Carp, CHCF vice president of programs. Quick access to lab tests and results is a big selling point for patients, says vice president and chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto (CA) Medical Foundation, part of the Sutter Health System.
Meanwhile, if the healthcare industry will be looking to docs to get patients engaged in personal health records, that means docs must also be on board. Busy doctors—or those who are reluctant adopters—need an incentive to do so, whether through government incentives or penalties for failing to embrace electronic health records. "The more successful the current federal effort is to promote EHR adoption among physicians and other providers, the easier it will be for patients to access their health information from their most trusted source," says Mark D. Smith, MD, CHCF president and CEO.
Read more about patient and physician engagement in the January HealthLeaders magazine article, Meaningful Use Means Engaging Patients in EHR, Too.