JASON Task Force Co-Chairs Criticize Health IT Interoperability Report

September 4, 2014 in News

A report compiled by the MITRE Corporation to guide thinking on nationwide interoperability is inadequate and outdated, according co-chairs of a joint federal health IT taskforce, Healthcare IT News reports (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 9/4).

Background

In April, HHS released the report, which was developed by JASON, an independent group of scientists that advises the federal government on issues pertaining to science and technology. The report was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (iHealthBeat, 4/17).

The JASON task force was created as a short-term joint Health IT Policy Committee and Standards Committee workgroup to analyze and synthesize feedback on the JASON report (“Health IT Buzz,” 8/4).

Task Force Comments

During a Health IT Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday, Cerner Senior Vice President of Medical Informatics David McCallie and Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative CEO Micky Tripathi, who co-chair the JASON Task Force said the report is inconsistent with the reality that currently exists in the electronic health record ecosystem.

They noted that the original investigation for the JASON report “was conducted in early 2013, but much has changed in the industry in the last 18 months, such as market deployment of Direct-enabled functions and beginning of [meaningful use Stage 2] attestations” (Healthcare IT News, 9/4).

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Tripathi said that the uptick in provider adoption of certified EHR systems has “created greater demand for interoperability than I think was the case 18 months ago” (Mazmanizn, FCW, 9/3).

Specifically, they said the report:

  • Does not offer any innovative ways to fix issues surrounding patient identities across implementations to improve data aggregation;
  • Failed to offer any new technologies or measures for data and transaction encryption; and
  • Seemed to recommend a central, nationwide architecture to address incompatibility among individual implementations.

McCallie and Tripathi added, “We believe that JASON seriously underestimates the progress made in interoperability, though we agree that there is considerable room for improvement.” They recommended that ONC “take into account the current state of interoperability, as well as current trends before incorporating JASON findings in any decisions on HIE plans, policies and programs” (Healthcare IT News, 9/4).

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