CMS announces patient health data initiative

March 8, 2018

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced MyHealthEData, a new initiative that would allow patients to have access to and control their healthcare data.  Because patients do not have continuous care through one provider for their entire life, healthcare information can become fragmented.  If an individual changes primary care doctors, sees multiple specialists for different medical issues, or has an emergency, the individual’s comprehensive healthcare information may not be housed in one place, and the patient may not have access to this information through each of their providers or have access to it at all, which can be problematic for both patients and providers treating the patient, such as in emergency situations. Patients can also use their own medical information to monitor their own daily health and make healthcare decisions for themselves.

In conjunction with this, CMS announced Blue Button 2.0, a system that will allow Medicare beneficiaries to upload their healthcare information, such as prescriptions or previous test results, for secure storage in one system and share with providers.  CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “We are calling on private health plans to join us in sharing their data with patients” to encourage and enable patients’ control and utilization of their healthcare information and indicated that the Trump administration would “pull every lever the create a healthcare information ecosystem that allows and encourages the healthcare market to tailor products and services to compete for patients.” This would include innovations in electronic health records (HER) or third-party products that would allow sharing of information with the patient.  Administrator Verma also called on insurance companies to allow patients access to their health data to further this cause.

For this initiative to be a success for all Americans, not just those utilizing Medicare, private industry must take up the initiative and create secure avenues to patient information for all.