Consumer Empowerment in Healthcare Information Exchange: An Investigation Using the Grounded Theory Approach

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sherrie D. Cannoy (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
A.F. Salam

Abstract: Emerging technological innovations such as personal health records (PHRs), electronic health records (EHRs) and the nationwide health information network (NHIN) provide the ability to increase the sharing of medical records among healthcare stakeholders. The goal of these innovations is to improve the quality of human healthcare by accessing medical information at the point of care and decreasing medical errors. Technology allows for widespread access to patient medical information, giving providers a comprehensive view of a patient's medical history so that they can make better decisions. The capability to use technology to electronically exchange medical records is called Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE). Recent studies have shown that patients want more control over their medical records. HIE technology can allow patients to control their medical records. Because patients often have chronic illnesses and can be transient when using different providers for care, HIE technology can support patient access and control over the sharing of their medical information between doctors. Therefore, the concern for patient empowerment has emerged within the healthcare community's discussions on HIE technology and policy efforts. A careful review of the literature shows that there is no existing theory of consumer empowerment in HIE, therefore a qualitative approach was utilized. There are two phases to this study: the first reveals the dimensions of consumer empowerment through discussions of United States federal and state empowerment groups as well as individual everyday consumers who do not work in healthcare or information technology fields. Through this investigation of the quest for consumer empowerment in HIE, it was found that Consumer Confidence in HIE, Fairness in HIE, and Consumer Commitment and Engagement in HIE are three dimensions that support consumer empowerment in HIE. These dimensions foundational to the second phase, which describes ways that consumer empowerment may be achieved in HIE. A theory is generated which can aid practitioners in developing and implementing appropriate HIE policy and technology. Academicians can build upon this theory for future research in areas such as incorporating consumer input into HIE technology systems analysis and design and examining the success of initiatives to achieve consumer empowerment in HIE.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
consumer, empowerment, medical records, health records, Technology, medical information
Medical informatics.
Medicine $x Information technology.
Medical records $x Management.
Medical Records Systems, Computerized.
Consumer-driven health care.

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