Congress asked to spur remote data use

November 25, 2013 in Medical Technology

In a joint letter to the House Ways Means and Senate Finance Committees, several industry groups have implored legislators to incentivize integration between electronic health records and remote patient monitoring, to spur better use of patient-generated data in payment reform efforts

Writing to Senators Max Baucus, D-Mont., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Reps. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sandy Levin, D-Mich., in response to discussion about repealing the sustainable growth rate formula and reforming the Medicare physician payment system, the American Telemedicine Association, Continua Health Alliance, Association for Competitive Technology and Telecommunications Industry Association urged the use use of open and voluntary standards for interoperability between remote patient monitoring devices and electronic health records.?

[See also: Remote monitoring market growing fast.]

“As you consider the future of the sustainable growth rate formula, we urge you to ensure that incentives for the adoption of interoperable electronic health records encompass the full panoply of patient health data – including data generated from remote monitoring systems,” the letter reads.

“The health and financial benefits of remote monitoring are significant,” the authors write. “Remote monitoring connects patients and health care providers outside of healthcare facilities, allowing for ongoing treatment and for early discovery of the warning signs for ailments such as congestive heart failure, pneumonia, myocardial infraction and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“By actively involving patients in their own care, they are also empowered – and far more likely – to make healthy lifestyle changes,” they add. “Clinical evidence has demonstrated that interoperable remote monitoring improves care, reduces hospitalizations, helps avoid complications and improves satisfaction, particularly for the most chronically ill.” The letter points out that the potential cost savings are significant – with remote monitoring potentially reaping savings of $36 billion worldwide by 2018.

[See also: Remote health management market is growing fast, but reimbursement lags.]

“Importantly, these benefits and savings could have a significant budgetary effect on broader efforts to address SGR formula issues.”

The industry groups asked Congress to ensure that:

HHS incentives require EHR systems to incorporate open, voluntary and consensus-based industry standards for interoperability with remote patient monitoring systems. HHS establishes target goals for the use of remote patient monitoring of patient-generated health data for treated patients with one or more high priority conditions.

HIMSS, IHE USA, the Center for Data Innovation and Wireless Life Sciences Alliance also wrote to Congress, making the case that remote monitoring devices “are poised to transform the delivery of health care services in the United States.”

That transformation “will only be possible if EHR systems are required (through HHS incentives) to incorporate PGHD through open, voluntary standards,” according to the letter.

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