Patient Engagement Needs to be a Two-Way Street

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The “patient and family engagement” objectives within the federal Meaningful Use (MU) incentive program Stages 1 and (proposed) Stage 2 have been well-intended steps forward. But they have mostly regarded patients as receivers of information (education materials, clinical summaries after each visit, view/download/transmit their information, receive patient reminders). This is pretty much a “one way street.” Sure, there is “secure messaging” where a patient can send essentially an email to a provider. But most requirements assume that providers control the keys to information that they (figuratively) “dispense” to the patient.

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