Stakeholders join to promote easier patient access to their data

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A coalition of healthcare organizations and technology companies have developed a prototype tool to make it easier for patients and families to get copies of their medical records.

While the HIPAA Act gives individuals or another designated person the right to receive copies of their health information, providers and payers haven’t always made that task easy, typically requiring the filling out of paperwork and erecting barriers, such as excessive fees, to obtaining electronic formats of the data that can be placed in an app or other location.

The new tool, called the Health Record Request Wizard, was built by technology vendor X4_Health with funding from consumer advocates, as well as additional financial support from the Commonwealth Fund.

“The Wizard is a game-changer for patients, families and healthcare providers alike,” says Christine Bechtel, co-founder and president of X4Health. “This tool will help bring an outdated process into the 21st Century and make it easier to obtain and organize health records in electronic formats, ultimately helping create a comprehensive picture of a person’s health.”

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Developers included the American Health Information Management Association, advocates of real-time data exchange, vendors and patients and families.

The prototype is live, and an implementation package on how to use and expand the Wizard also is available.
“The Wizard takes the model form developed by our member volunteers at AHIMA one step further,” says Pamela Lane, vice president of policy and government at the association. “It provides an innovative tool that can be used by health information management professionals to change workflow processing for consumer-generated information requests.” The tool, she adds, will improve consumer engagement by streamlining complexity record-obtaining process.

In addition to AHIMA, provider and payer organizations and other entities backing the Wizard include CareJourney, Carin Alliance, Citizen, Ciox, Door County Medical Center, Marshfield Clinic, National Partnership for Women & Families, NewWave, Norton Healthcare, Swellbox, Texas State University Department of Health Information Management, University of Wisconsin HIM and Technology Program and X4Health. More information is available here.

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