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On the Issues: Society and Technology 

Empower Healthcare Consumers

Access to information can help improve care, reduce costs.

Published: June 2, 2009

Connect Consumers with "Meaningful Use"
Incentives for adoption of healthcare IT should keep consumers in mind.

Peter Neupert on Healthcare IT
The vice president of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Microsoft for the Health Industry
Software solutions and other tools for health payers, providers and the life sciences.

America is moving forward on an important facet of healthcare reform: Policymakers will soon invest federal stimulus dollars to encourage adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) among hospitals and physicians.

This effort to improve and streamline care gives health providers incentives to make meaningful use of EHRs. We believe such use should include granting consumers access to an electronic copy of their data.

Giving consumers a copy of their health records will help strengthen continuity of care between providers. It will improve information sharing between patient and provider, enrich their conversations, and increase consumer engagement. And it will give consumers a clear, direct return on public investment in EHR incentives.

At Microsoft, we encourage our employees to take an active role in managing their health, which can include using tools such as Microsoft HealthVault to store and organize their personal health information. HealthVault, which is also available free to consumers, helps patients make better informed decisions and obtain more integrated and seamless care.

For healthcare reform to succeed, consumers must be fully involved.

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