Patient apps plays a crucial role in patient engagement and empowerment which enables better health outcomes. The future of healthcare will allow patients to authorize their apps that connect to Electronic Health Record (EHRs) systems on their behalf. For example, a chronic condition patient might get their care from multiple health systems and their records are scattered throughout these systems.
With the upcoming Application Programming Interface (APIs) standards called FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), patients will be able to bring any authorized 3rd party health apps to connect to these EHRs and provide a value added service. The most important thing about HIPAA is that it gives the patients the right to have access to their personal health records from the health system and let patients be the center/mediator for sharing their health records for science and research purposes.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) released their final rules for the third stage of the Meaningful Use incentive program and the corresponding certification requirements for EHR vendors. One requirement of the rule allows patients (or a patient-authorized representative) to get access to their health records using ONC-certified API that can be used by third-party applications or devices to provide patients (or patient-authorized representatives) access to their health information. This rule will help shape the interoperability standards and also enable better health outcomes for patients.
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