ONC’s John Fleming Wants Patients to Have a Single Unified Health record

Evan Sweeney | Fierce Healthcare | June 2, 2017

A senior administrator with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT said he wants patients to have a unified health record that could pull data from various medical providers into a single record. John Fleming, the ONC’s deputy assistant secretary for health technology reform, outlined his vision that would give patients more control of their medical information during the International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy hosted by Georgetown University Law.

“I believe every American should have a single unified health record system that’s in the cloud and is under the full control of the patient,” he said, noting that this was his own belief, not an official position of the Department of Health and Human Services. Fleming acknowledged there are challenges associated with that approach, but he said the benefits of having information from various doctors and specialists in one centralized location would be invaluable for both patients and providers.

Access to a single unified record aligned with Fleming’s overarching view that health data belongs to the patient. He also advocated for patients to be able to obtain copies of their medical record for free, a suggestion that was raised by a health privacy attorney at Datapalooza in April. A single patient record would allow patients greater control over who accesses their record and what information they can see. He imagined a scenario where a patient gives a provider a code that opens up access to their record, but excludes sensitive information like a mental health diagnosis...