Ini­tia­tive aims to cre­ate ‘vir­tual clipboard’ for pa­tient in­take

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Joseph Conn

Ev­ery­one knows the drill of go­ing to the doc­tor’s of­fice or hos­pi­tal, be­ing handed a clipboard and writ­ing an­swers to a long list of ques­tions about your iden­tity, health sta­tus and in­surance.

Now there’s a new mul­ti­stake­holder ini­tia­tive to au­to­mate that pa­tient-in take process. “The goal is to make the first ex­pe­ri­ence (go­ing) into your GP, spe­cial­ist or hos­pi­tal as sim­ple as buy­ing cof­fee at Star­bucks,” said Devin Jopp, CEO of the Work­group for Elec­tronic Data In­ter­change.

His group, along with the Sul­li­van In­sti­tute for Health­care In­no­va­tion, con­vened a meet­ing last week of about 40 rep­re­sen­ta­tives of health­care stake­holder groups to “cre­ate an in­dus­try blue­print around how to au­to­mate the pa­tient-in­take process,” ac­cord­ing to a WEDI state­ment. HHS’ Of­fice of the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy was there.

The goal is to get agree­ment on de­vel­op­ing a “vir­tual clipboard,” a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion that will re­place pa­per doc­u­ments, med­i­ca­tion rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and in­surance-card pho­to­copy­ing. Pre­vi­ous au­to­ma­tion ef­forts have been frus­trated by con­flict among health plans on the best ap­proach, said Robert Ten­nant, se­nior pol­icy ad­viser at the Med­i­cal Group Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

Var­i­ous moves have been made to tackle the prob­lem. Mo­bile apps for sched­ul­ing ap­point­ments al­ready are used. Some U.S. provider or­ga­ni­za­tions and some Euro­pean coun­tries have tried smart cards to hold pa­tient de­mo­graph­ics, in­surance and clin­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. For more than four years, the feds have touted the Blue But­ton tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped by the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment as a way for pa­tients to gather and trans­mit their records.

The new ini­tia­tive es­tab­lished four work­groups. The first phase will en­able pa­tients to carry a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion with their de­mo­graphic and in­surance in­for­ma­tion in a for­mat us­able by providers. By the end of 2015, Jopp said, the groups will have stud­ied the sec­ond phase, en­abling pa­tients to carry and ex­change dig­i­tized “es­sen­tial health in­for­ma­tion.”

Ten­nant was op­ti­mistic about the chances of suc­cess be­cause of the par­tic­i­pa­tion of ma­jor health in­sur­ers, in­clud­ing An­them, Aetna, Hu­mana, Kaiser Per­ma­nente, United-Health­care and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “It’s not a meet­ing to dis­cuss whether we should do this,” he said. “It’s a get-to­gether of those who said ‘We will do this.’ ”

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