Report suggests linking patient health records to HIEs instead of EHRs

As consumer engagement in healthcare continues to grow, there is a parallel rising demand for patient access to their health records. Currently, most patient portals are linked to provider's EHR in a single organization, but a new report from an ONC contractor suggests linking patient portals to health information exchanges may provide a more comprehensive view of a patient's overall health.

Venesco, the ONC contractor that developed the report, said patient portals or personal health records offered through the EHR are "tethered" health records since they are often limited to a single health system. However, patients often receive care from numerous providers, so these tethered patient health records may often be incomplete.

Instead, the report suggests considering non-tethered, cross-organization personal health records, which could be supported or sponsored by a health information exchange.

"Having an HIE base for the PHR provides greater interoperability, depth of information and ability to integrate data sources, which in turn provides better service to the consumer and to other stakeholders," according to the report.

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