• Information Technology Used in Health Care

    The American Academy of Family Physicians supports the development of an efficient health data ecosystem that prioritizes the needs of patients and their care teams in the following ways:

    Federal incentives should be used to support the application of uniform standards and a national system of interoperability that recognizes the important role of medical homes by electronically connecting patients with their family physicians and other medical-home care team members. Health information technology must facilitate efficient information sharing without undue financial or administrative burden on physician practices, regardless of the size of the facility or care setting. Policies governing the release of health information should consider the health and emotional wellbeing of patients.

    Prioritize financial and technical support for practices caring for historically underserved and marginalized populations and those at greatest risk for adverse health outcomes to advance equitable access to high-quality, connected care. Additionally, programs and incentives to support adoption of interoperable HIT systems should consider the unique needs of small, rural, and independent physician practices which have historically lagged in adoption due to resource constraints.

    Privacy protections must apply to all parties that store, organize, manage, and transfer patients’ personal health information, not only to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act -covered entities.

    Public and private payers should seek to align on a common approach to data and information-sharing to ensure that the information necessary to deliver advanced primary care is made available in real-time and in ways that do not place the burden of managing multiple payer requirements on family physicians and primary care practices. 

    Data and information sharing should take a "push" rather than a "pull" approach. Patient health data and information should be proactively and automatically shared with their primary care physicians to promote coordinated care. Patients must maintain control over the privacy of their information but should not be burdened with communicating their health information between members of their care team. Wherever possible, payers should grant physicians timely access to claims data.

    Family physicians and primary care practices in pay-for-performance programs or value-based payment arrangements that include upside or downside financial incentives should have full access to accurate and up-to-date data on the cost and quality of care available to and accessed by their attributed patient population. (2007) (JULY 2022 BOD)