Todays’ French Health Revolution Started in the US!

November 12, 2018
By Bettina Experton, MD, MPH, CEO of Humetrix

On Tuesday November 6 when Americans were exercising their democratic power in the midterm elections, the French were gaining unprecedented power over their healthcare. On that day, the French Secretary of Health publicly announced that all French citizens have now not only the right, but also the tool to access and gather all their health information online with the new revived French government “DMP” (Dossier Medical Partagé – meaning Shared Medical Record). The launch of the national DMP is a big undertaking, with the French government and the CNAM (French equivalent of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – CMS) investing in a large communication campaign to inform French citizens and their providers of the need and value to create and download individual DMPs. Using all available means of communication (TV announcements and programs, mailers and website messages, social media, posters in public administration offices, etc.), the French government is aiming for a big national deployment with millions of new DMPs created in the first year and at least 40 million DMPs in total. “The DMP has to become a must have”, said the French Secretary of Health, who doesn’t want to fail in this deployment of what she qualifies as major progress for patients and responsive to the ongoing French healthcare system issues of lack of care coordination, medical errors and unnecessary or redundant care and costs.

Interestingly, the French didn’t get it right in the first place. The current DMP - let’s call it DMP 2.0 - comes after 15 years of failed experimentation with its originally-designed version, which was totally physician and not patient/consumer/citizen centric. In its original version, the DMP was to be created and populated by physicians who neither had the time nor the inclination to open and populate on an ongoing basis - via their EMRs - their patients’ DMPs. If 500,000 DMPs were created after multiple failed prior attempts, most of them were either empty or partially populated. Pre-populating the new DMP with claim data from the French national health insurance system, making it mobile and letting patients open their DMP themselves, has been the French government response to the failed “centralized HIE of sort" first DMP experiment. In her Tweet on launch day, Agnes Buzin, French Secretary of Health summed it up with these key words: “the DMP is initiated by the patient, available for free and confidential”.

Does this “DMP 2.0” way of health information exchange sound familiar? It should be! As it is the Medicare Blue Button 2.0 way! The French are now embarked in a healthcare revolution, this time imported from the U.S.A. The “DMP 2.0” is indeed modeled on the Medicare Blue Button 2.0 program, which gives 53 million Americans covered by Medicare access to their medical history generated by Medicare claim data! In the same way, 60+ million French citizens now have online and mobile access to their longitudinal health record generated by the claim data of the French national health insurance system.

This French healthcare revolution should however not overshadow our Blue Button 2.0 initiative. Now is the time for our federal government leadership, starting with CMS and the White House to let 53 million Americans covered by Medicare, their family caregivers and their providers know that they ALSO have the right to access their health data, and that there are also tools to make meaningful and actionable use of their data with the Medicare Blue Button 2.0 applications that CMS is now approving. With its new eMedicare program, CMS can effectively communicate the Public Health and public safety importance of Blue Button on its MyMedicare website, with ongoing preventive health email blasts, and with other mailers and via social media. This healthcare revolution is ours and can take place now! It’s about #SavingMedicare and #SavingLives!

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