The Future of Healthcare: Empowering the Patient as a Consumer

As U.S. healthcare providers work to modernize operations to achieve meaningful use and increase transparency, the public — the patients — have an unprecedented opportunity to become an active player on their personal healthcare “team,” alongside the providers, payers, and policymakers.

Not only is it an opportunity, argues health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn in a blog post published Tuesday on entitled Why Health IT (Should) Matter to Consumers, it is each individual’s responsibility as an engaged consumer.

“Peoples’ involvement in embracing their personal health information can move people to the center of the U.S. health delivery system, with providers and health plans becoming more accountable as people take on the mantle of becoming health care consumers,” Sarasohn-Kahn explains. “This then drives the demand for transparency and accountability to people.”

The author argues that, despite unprecedented access, patients remain largely unaware of their rights when it comes to their own Protected Health Information (PHI), and insists that  it falls to members of the healthcare industry itself to encourage people to actively engage in their health care delivery.

“As we convene for HIMSS 2014, the largest meeting in the world focusing on health information and communications technologies, we must get real about how to connect the consumer, patient and caregiver to the supply side of their health information,” she asserts.

“It’s not a technology problem anymore. It’s a social marketing challenge.”

This video, published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in 2012, is one of many marketing pieces created to help educate consumers about their newly-minted rights when it comes to their own health information. For more information, visit the ONC website.

Read the full blog post on

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