PAMF Joins Leading Health Care Groups in Pledge to Empower Patients with Secure Access to their Health Information

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The Palo Alto Medical Foundation is recognized as one of the earliest innovators of health information technology in the country.

We pledge to support our patients, their families, and the communities we serve by providing them with secure, timely, electronic access to their health information, and to partner with them to use this information to improve their health and their care.

On Monday, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) joined leading consumer and health care provider groups in Washington, D.C., in a pledge of commitment to help consumers understand the potential benefits of health information technology (health IT), and to empower consumers by making it easier for them to get secure access to their health information and engage more fully in their health.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) hosted the first-ever Consumer Health IT Summit in Washington, D.C. on September 12, 2011. At the Summit, consumers, providers, and the public and private sectors came together to discuss how best to empower consumers to be partners in their health and care through health IT.

Paul Tang, M.D., vice president, chief innovation and technology officer for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), was among the health care leaders and advocates gathered in the nation’s capitol for the Consumer Health IT Summit. Dr. Tang also serves as vice chair of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Information Technology Policy Committee.

Dr. Paul Tang delivered this pledge at the Summit on behalf of PAMF:

“We pledge to support our patients, their families, and the communities we serve by providing them with secure, timely, electronic access to their health information, and to partner with them to use this information to improve their health and their care. PAMF implemented its integrated patient portal in 2000, through which our patients can access their health information, view lab test results, renew their prescriptions, and electronically communicate with their physicians. Patients can also download their information via a “blue button” capability. Our staff and physicians routinely promote use of our patient portal, My Health Online, and about 65% are active users. New functionality being used in clinical trials allows diabetic patients to wirelessly upload their glucose and patients with hypertension to upload their blood pressures, so that we can manage their health together on a day-to-day basis. We believe health information technology is an essential enabler to transform America’s health system to one where consumers are in control of their health. We are excited to join the Secretary in her consumer eHealth initiative to help make this vision a reality across America.”

“When it comes to health care, information is power,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “When patients have their lab results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make better decisions and receive better care. This Summit offers a unique opportunity for the public and private sectors alike to share strategies to improve consumer access to their health information, while safeguarding the privacy and security of their data.” On the day of the Summit, Secretary Sebelius proposed new rules that would expand the rights of patients to access their health information through the use of health information technology.

Yesterday’s event signals the start of a new initiative to empower individuals to be more engaged in their health through the use of health IT, and is an opportunity for those who share the goal of greater consumer engagement in health to come together in support of it. Thousands were able to watch online via a live webcast of the event at http://www.hhs.gov/live and followed the conversation on Twitter via #ONC hashtag.

About Health Information Technology at PAMF

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation(PAMF) is one of the earliest innovators of health information technology in the country. A year after it implemented the electronic health record (EHR) in 1999, PAMF worked with its EHR vendor (Epic Systems, Verona, WI) to co-develop the patient portal, PAMFOnline (now known as My Health Online). Currently, nearly two-thirds of PAMF’s adult primary care patients are using My Health Online.

About the Palo Alto Medical Foundation

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation(PAMF) for Health Care, Research and Education is a not-for-profit health care organization that is a pioneer in the multispecialty group practice of medicine. Founded in 1930, PAMF is part of the Peninsula Coastal Region of Sutter Health, one of the nation's leading not-for-profit networks of community-based health care providers. PAMF's 1,000 affiliated physicians and 4,900 employees serve nearly 730,000 patients at its medical centers and clinics in Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. For more information, follow PAMF on Twitter, join us on Facebook or visit pamf.org

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Cynthia Greaves
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