Vital benefits of Electronic Health Records and health IT

rules that would expand the rights of patients to access their health information through the use of health information technology.

Specifically, the new rules would empower patients by allowing them to gain access to test results directly from labs. They would ensure that labs covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provide such information, upon request, directly to patients or their personal representatives.

The announcement came Monday at the kick-off of the first HHS Consumer Health IT Summit, which brought together consumers, providers and the public and private sectors to discuss how best to empower consumers to be partners in their health and care through health information technology.

“When it comes to healthcare, information is power,” Sebelius said at the summit. “When patients have their lab results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make better decisions and receive better care.”

In conjunction with the announcement, the American Nurses Association issued a statement in which it pledged to educate consumers about the benefits of electronic health information.

The ANA plans to develop educational materials on health information technology for RNs to share with consumers. The initiative will help people understand the ben