Imagine a Mint-enabled healthcare world.
What is Mint? Below is a description from the Mint website about their product.
“With Mint, you can achieve better online financial management in less than five minutes… It automatically pulls together your bank, credit union and credit card data, and provides up-to-date and amazingly accurate views of your financial—life from the big picture to specific details, in a friendly and intuitive way. Plus, Mint makes it faster & easier to achieve your goals. With our NEW Goals feature, you can set and track your progress towards goals—like buying a house, getting out of debt or taking a vacation—or create savings goals of your own.
Mint is safe and secure online money management: we never know your identity and we provide bank-level data security.”
For discussion purpose only, let’s take the above description and apply it to healthcare.
With Mint, you can achieve better online healthcare management in less than five minutes… It automatically pulls together your physician, hospital and lab data, and provides up-to-date and amazingly accurate views of your health—life from the big picture to specific details, in a friendly and intuitive way. Plus, Mint makes it faster & easier to achieve your goals. With our NEW Goals feature, you can set and track your progress towards goals—like eating better, losing weight or exercising—or create personal healthcare goals of your own.
Mint is safe and secure online personal healthcare record management: we never know your identity and we provide bank-level data security.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
The Mint model, in my opinion, is an ideal one for an empowered patient and is what, I believe, Meaningful Use should achieve in the end.
According to a recent USA Today article, more patients want information to question exams and procedures to ensure money is being spent wisely and effectively in the delivery of their care. There are always instances when this can go too far, but having patients take a more active role in the management of their care is overdue.
The Mint model would enable this empowered approach even more productively.
The reason the Mint model works in the financial industry is due to the fact that each financial institution has a source system which contains our information. These financial source systems have secure means to deliver our data to other endpoints – for example, web portals, Mint, Quicken, etc.
Unfortunately, in healthcare, a single source system at most institutions is missing. Even if it were present, the next challenge is the secure delivery of that health information. The source system is Electronic Health Records (EHR).
Taking this perspective, Meaningful Use is, well, more meaningful. Without a source system in which your personal healthcare information can be stored securely and delivered securely, a Mint model would never work. Getting EHRs in place is crucial to facilitate this approach.
Personal Health Records, or PHRs, seem somewhat secondary to many of the Meaningful Use discussions. In my opinion, they should be more central to them.
There is no doubt EHRs need to be in place. However, after this, PHRs can be more of the driver in enabling further exchange of an individual’s health data. With an empowered patient, they can decide which physician should receive their information in the continuation of their care plans. Yes, there are issues which would need to be discussed and determined, like how could a physician access the patient information when they are incoherent or unconscious. In some sense, these issues need to be resolved in the Health Information Exchange (HIE) model as well.
Again, in the Mint vs. HIE model, the Mint model puts the patient, or citizen, in control instead of a third party. I bring the word “citizen” into the discussion since there has been some recent discussion about patient terminology. Is it patient or electronic-patient (e-patient) or just plain ol’ citizen? Interesting information… More can be found here: Health Is Social and HealthIntel.
The Mint model is an excellent one to keep in mind as we work through the objectives and direction of HITECH. The essential points are:
- A source system at each healthcare institution with a secure means to store and deliver patient information is critical. To a large degree, this is an objective of Meaningful Use.
- Keeping the focus on the patient is fundamental. Patients – or we, the citizens – want to have more control and more empowerment in our personal healthcare.
- By keeping the above two points in mind, let’s not over-engineer the approach to solve this healthcare connectivity and exchange challenge over the long term. Let’s keep the Mint model in mind as we move forward over the next five years.
Learning from other industries and applying solid practices to healthcare is a way to do business. In the old days, this was called benchmarking. Mint is a fantastic benchmark to learn and apply to healthcare.
What do you think of this approach? Join the conversation.
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