Blog Post

Introducing Patient Summaries

Oct 12, 2023

Our key aim at The Commons Project is to improve the exchange of accurate health information for patients and providers alike. CommonHealth, one of our public health services, exists so that you can individually collect, manage, and share your health data, and with the new International Patient Summary (IPS) feature, sharing your clinical information is easier than ever. 

The IPS is an emerging global standard for documenting and sharing health information. Today, healthcare providers anywhere in the world can use IPS. Your patient summary contains all of the essentials from your healthcare records: medications, allergies, problems, immunizations, test results, procedures, and much more.

Once you have downloaded your clinical records by connecting CommonHealth to your providers’ patient portals, CommonHealth does the hard work of organizing and compiling them. You may also store vaccination records and lab tests given to you as SMART Health Cards. 

When you are ready to share your Patient Summary, CommonHealth uses SMART® Health Links to create an encrypted, secure, temporary, passcode-protected copy of your record in the cloud. You are then given a QR code and a link that only you and the people you trust with the link and passcode are able to access. The Commons Project has no access to your Patient Summary data.

Sharing Your IPS in CommonHealth

To share your IPS in CommonHealth, start by connecting your CommonHealth app to at least one healthcare provider data source. Once you have downloaded your clinical records to your phone, the Patient Summary feature will become available. 

To create and share your Patient Summary:

  1. Select “Share My Clinical Summary” button from the Summary Screen
  2. Review the Information about the Clinical Summary, how it is protected, and how you share the summary.
  3. Give your summary a Title
  4. Enter a six digit passcode to protect your summary
  5. Select the length of time you would like the summary to expire
  6. Select “Share Access”

That’s it! Your Patient Summary will be created and made available within the CommonHealth application for you to share and view with anyone in the world. The person you share with does not need to install any software in order to view the Patient Summary.

If you want to delete your Patient Summary prior to the expiration time that you set, you simply select “Delete” and all of your encrypted data will be permanently deleted.

For Providers: How to View Your Patient’s Summary

As a healthcare provider, your patients may wish to share their IPS with you. You may even want to encourage them to do so! 

They could do this by holding up a QR code for you to scan in your office using any tablet, smartphone, laptop or desktop computer with a camera. They can send you the link and the temporary passcode via a secure message, providing you with access to the IPS in a convenient, tabular format in your web browser. You will also be able to view and copy the raw FHIR data behind the IPS.

The summary will be available for up to 72 hours, so please check in with your patient if you would like to refer to it again at a later time. In the future, we expect Electronic Health Record systems to have built-in support for importing IPS documents. Be sure to speak with your vendor if this is of interest to you.