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Meeting Patient Engagement Objectives of Meaningful Use Stage 2: Credentialing Patients

Posted Oct 08 2012 1:36pm

Giving patients access to their health information—and providing them with tools to electronically communicate with their clinical care team—is critical to making health care more patient-centered. 

To meet the requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 2, health care providers need to more actively engage patients by providing them with the capability to electronically view, download, and transmit relevant information from their provider’s electronic health records. This could include lab test results, a list of current medications, and hospital discharge instructions.

For physicians and other clinicians participating in meaningful use, patient engagement for Meaningful Use Stage 2 also includes bi-directional, secure email with patients. We want to make sure we facilitate electronic data access and email in a way that protects the privacy, confidentiality, and security of that information.

Web Hearing on Credentialing Patients

Later this month, on October 29, 2012, the Privacy and Security Tiger Team of the Health IT Policy Committee, and the Privacy and Security Working Group of the Health IT Standards Committee, will host a web hearing on credentialing patients (verifying patient identity to make sure that in an electronic environment, they are who they say they are) to enable them to take advantage of new online tools.

In short, we will discuss the following questions:

  • What steps should we be taking to make sure that the person who is remotely accessing the record is the actual patient (or that patient’s authorized representative)?
  • How can we reliably issue these “digital credentials” without making it too hard or too expensive for patients?

Patients and caregivers, we want to hear from you. We encourage you to respond to these questions in the comment section below, or email ONC directly at .

For those of you who already have online access to your health record in your doctor’s office or your hospital record, we are interested in how that access was granted.  For example:

  • Did you have to show up in person at your doctor’s office or were you able to establish the account online?
  • If you were able to establish the account online, what steps did you have to go through to prove your identity?
  • Once you established the account, what steps do you have to go through to access it?
  • Do you believe the process for giving you access to your account will keep your information secure?
  • What other approaches would you recommend to provide patients with secure online access to their medical information?

Provide us with your thoughts on how patients (and their authorized representatives) can be provided with easy and secure access to their medical records. If you do not yet have online access to your health records we want to hear from you on this topic as well. We encourage you to respond in the comment section below, or email ONC directly at .

All responses will be collected and shared with the Health IT Policy and Standards Committees as part of the October 29, 2012 web hearing.

Attending the Web Hearing

If you are interested in attending the web hearing, please refer to the ONC FACA webpage .

For More Information



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