HHS Launches Meaningful Consent Site

New tools available to help health care providers engage and educate patientsHHS

An online resource to help health care providers effectively engage patients in choosing how they want their electronic patient health information shared was launched today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Known as Meaningful Consent, the site addresses the laws, policies and issues related to the electronic exchange of health information, also known as health information exchange, or HIE. The site includes strategies and tools that can be used to engage and educate patients. This information is designed for providers, certain health information organizations and other implementers of health information technology.

The new Meaningful Consent site includes background, lessons learned, videos and customizable tools from the eConsent pilot project that was completed by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in March of 2013. The pilot project tested the use of tablet computers to inform patients about options available to them when they consider whether to electronically share their health information through HIE.

More and more patients and providers are using technology to manage health care and share health information, including electronic health records (EHRs) and HIE services.

“As patients become more engaged in their health care, it’s vitally important that they understand more about various aspects of their choices when it relates to sharing their health in the electronic health information exchange environment” said Joy Pritts, ONC’s chief privacy officer.

The Meaningful Consent site builds upon the 2011 recommendations from ONC’s Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC), which called on ONC to inform, collect, and evaluate the information patients need to make an informed choice about electronic exchange of their health information.

In recognition that patients are increasingly engaged in their health care, HHS encourages communication and education of patients in many areas, including electronically receiving and sharing their health information. Adequately informing patients of these new models for exchange and giving patients the choice whether to participate is one means of ensuring that patients trust these technologies.

For more information, visit www.HealthIT.gov/meaningfulconsent

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