Urgent Ask: Stand Up for Health Data Access Today. Your Voice Could Have a National Impact.

By Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin

Are YOU at a clinic or hospital system with an active electronic health record?

Flip the Clinic is looking for great sites across the US to help pilot Flip #55, our recent Flip created to stimulate greater participation and engagement around digital health records.

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This Flip helps clinics, hospitals, and health systems get the word out about a patient’s right to access their medical record. Flip #55 advocates for a significant culture shift, but success requires just a tiny change. With just a few posted signs and a prompt from the front desk, patients will gain their data—and a deeper short and long term understanding of their own health.

Why is this urgent?

We’re looking for sites and organizations willing to make a commitment by THURSDAY NIGHT (July 2nd, 2015) to pilot the Flip. Piloting the Flip is simple, yet powerful. It means you agree to dive into two basic action steps within the next six months:

  1. Post the provided signage in their waiting rooms, discharge stations, and check-out desks within the clinic prompting patients to ask for a copy of their digital health record. (Note: If needed, Flip the Clinic will print/ship them to a practice.)
  1. Encourage front desk staff and clinicians to ask patients a simple question before they leave the practice: “Would you like us to send a summary of today’s visit and lab results to your email account?”

And yes, patients, we have a role for you in this Flip, too! Is this something you want to see in your clinic or hospital? Reach out! Perhaps you have already tried to connect with a practice for your digital records and have encountered some hurdles – let us know where you’d like to see this Flip take place, and we’ll connect with that site to turn things around. Perhaps you are ready to make the ask for your digital health record and are willing to support this national effort – we’ll connect you to our colleagues at Get My Health Data so you can join their team of tracers.

By July 4th, Health Data Independence Day, we hope to announce our Flip the Clinic Community support for this national effort.

Are you ready to step up to support this Flip?
Take a moment today to share your intent.

Please post on the site or shoot a note to whitney@fliptheclinic.org BY THURSDAY and we will connect with you to share the full scoop on this project and the reason for the urgent ask this week. If this makes you at all curious or intrigued, we promise — you want the full scoop!

Thank you all!


[Photo: Image of Flip #55 materials that will be provided to patients and clinicians engaging on this Flip.]

  • Thomas Thrower

    As stated previously, I’m very interested in getting engaged in this effort and agree that it is a necessary and worthwhile cause. We really need some dialogue though among the promoters and the implementers. While conceptually this can all be made simple, there are underlying complexities involving the many interconnected systems / processes and associated controls that are required to make it all work effectively. Let’s talk please.

    • Sherry

      Actually we did this at Group Health Cooperative almost 10 years ago – over 1000 providers and 600,000 members (patients) without much of a problem at all. In fact when we implemented our EHR we gave the patients read write access before the docs had it (they were view only).. Not difficult when you have your culture in alignment with the needs of those you serve (patients) and technology is just the enabler. Many many very small and even solo clinics also have done this – ONC regional extension centers are a good resource or just ask me!

      • Thomas Thrower

        Sherry nobody is implying that it is difficult. All providers should be making their data available to patients electronically. What needs to be discussed further is how to better align provider solutions to shifting patient preferences and rapidly evolving developments in the consumer application space.

  • http://www.intake.me C. Emily Lu

    As a provider, I am encouraged to provide an after-visit summary to every single patient (and, for the most part, I do!). However, I am limited in my system by an after-visit summary that only occasionally has information on it that is relevant to my patient. Also, for most of my patients, the after-visit summary is in a language they do not understand, which also renders it completely useless.

    That said, giving patient access to their health care data is something that I am really passionate about. That’s why I have been working on Intake.Me to develop a platform to do so. Would love to talk to others working on this flip on how we can give patients meaningful, portable access to their data. And perhaps how Intake.Me can partner with you in doing so.

  • Brian Weiss

    Here’s a primer on how to use Direct Messaging with the NATE NBB4C trust bundle – for both patients and providers. Providers send summaries from their EHRs directly to customer facing applications, which assign patients their own Direct Address.


    This particular video highlights Carebox as the customer facing application, but it works essentially the same way with all customer facing applications that support Direct Messaging.

    Direct Messaging is baked into every EHR that is compliant with Meaningful Use Stage 2. Some leading EHR vendors pre-bundle the NATE NBB4C trust bundle in their product while with others, it requires some configuration (but no coding of any kind, and it’s free).

    So, there are really no technical barriers on the provider side. Their may be process/policy barriers, but that’s exactly what I think this Flip is looking to change!

    Sending a Meaningful Use compliant CCD from the EHR is what we need to be advocating when it comes to patient rights to “get my health data”. Paper records, faxes, canned “patient visit summary” PDF files, etc. are better than nothing – but they won’t result in the same transformation as using Direct Messaging to send CCDs to patients. CCDs deliver healthcare data in a format that patients can use to power mobile applications, donate data for clinical research, transition to a future caregiver, and open new worlds of patient-centric healthcare solutions.