Consumers & Health Information

Why Should Consumers Care About 'Open' Health Software Solutions

Health care provider organizations and computer specialists have begun to understand the benefits of using 'open source' Health IT solutions. However, most consumers still have no clue why this should be of any concern to them. Here are some key points that need to be communicated to health care consumers:    Videos
  • Consumers need to establish and start using a free and open source personal health record (PHR). It's as important as your online personal bank account. In fact, your health may be more important to you than your money. How many times have you needed to know what prescriptions you're on, shots you had, surgical procedures, allergies, family medical histories, and more.
  • Consumers ought to make sure their doctor's office is using an electronic health record (EHR) system. It's a sign of your doctor's commitment and ability to practice high quality modern medicine. Are they still handing you a clip board and asking you to check boxes related to you health? Do they have lots of paper files on the shelf behind the receptionist? If they have automated your bill payment, why not your health records.
  • What is a health information exchange (HIE) network and why is it needed? You need an HIE to move data from your health care provider's EHR to your PHR. An HIE network can be used to enable email and information exchange between doctors and their patients. Every state and health care community should be connected to an HIE network.
  • Today's consumers need access to mobile health apps to help you with specific medical problems or health issues, e.g. diabetes, weight, blood pressure, etc.  Many of these health apps are now available for free and work on most vendor's smartphones.
  • Consumers also need access to free, high quality health information and education materials, especially as we move into an era of preventive medicine and self-care.  Free open source tools and public domain data are key to enabling this. Many of these tools, web sites, and information sources are already available.
  • Finally, consumers need access to online public health information that can provide information on such topics as:  the closest hospital or emergency room; cancer clusters in your area; geographic maps showing the status of spreading flu or epidemics; potential environmental hazards in your neighborhood; and much more.  Again, these should be free, online systems using public domain data sources.
* Visit the US MedLine Plus and the U.K. NHS Choices consumer health information web sites.

CyberCitizen Health Study

According to a 2013 study by Manhattan Research, 95 million U.S. consumers have accessed their medical information on an electronic health record (EHR) system maintained by their physician.  -   See ManhattanResearch

Selected articles and studies on innovative, mobile Health Apps, Health eGames, and other Health IT solutions for consumers:

Quality Patient Care

HealthGrades.Com recently released their 2011 report on "Healthcare Consumerism & Hospital Quality in America." It documented patient outcomes at almost 5,000 American hospitals.  Amongst this years many findings, the study noted patients are moving from searching disease and treatment-specific information to researching quality information via the Internet. The report found that 80 percent of patients are “somewhat or very” concerned about the quality of hospital care in their community. Nearly 94 percent said they would go out of their way to seek care at a higher-rated hospital.  See full report at HealthGrades.Com

YouTube Health eGames for Consumers

* Visit the Consumer Health Information & PHR System Playlist on the
Open Health IT Channel

** Also, see the latest Infographic on Consumers and Use of EHR Systems

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A Patient Speaks Out