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Actions for harnessing the potential of the health care consumer:

10a. The clinician and consumer relationship needs to be enhanced and strengthened by:

  • Electronic communications between patients and their clinicians
  • Disease management systems to include reminder systems for both the clinician and consumer
  • Remote monitoring of patients with chronic diseases
  • Utilize information technology systems to flag abnormal laboratory results and coordinate communications among primary care clinicians, specialists, testing labs and consumers.
  • Home screening and testing by consumers in advance of medical appointments.
  • The Northern Virginia Health Care Information Technology Solution Working Group should pilot the use of a new category of health care worker, and development of technology to facilitate this clinician and consumer interface. The Center would also have to address reimbursement issues necessary to entice providers to operate in a preventive care vs. an acute treatment modality.

10b. Provide consumers with the knowledge and ability to better manage and monitor their own care by:

  • Adoption and utilization of an EMR or Electronic Health Record (EHR) that in addition to medical history provides tools for both the clinician and consumer:
    • Appointment, vaccination and test reminders
    • Education
    • Prescription refill
    • Co-pay balance and insurance information
    • Self entered metrics (blood pressur e, weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart rate)
  • The Veteran’s Administration currently has such an EHR for its consumers and clinicians. It is called the “My Health eVet”.)
  • Exploitation of the Internet as a potential tool for seniors (ages 65 and older). Seniors must become comfortable using the Internet. They should be targeted for consumer health information workshops or one-on-one tutoring sessions over the internet. Relevant topics for seniors will include: wellness, diseases and conditions, drugs, health insuranc e, Medicare/Medicaid, health care facilities and providers, community resources, etc.
  • The utilization and proliferation of advanced technology modalities in the acut e, long term and ambulatory environments. This will enhance patient education and dialogue with clinicians.
  • The Northern Virginia Health Care Information Technology Solution Working Group should conduct a pilot study to access the feasibility, effectiveness and clinician acceptance of a consumer owned Personal Health Record (PHR). The PHR feasibility pilot has two advantages over the creation of an EMR national standardized network. First, the implementation and consequential knowledge would be swifter. Second, its cost would be underwritten by consumers, employers and health plans.
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