HIMSS Offers To Work With HHS To Address U.S. Health IT Issues

October 2, 2014 in News

On Tuesday, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society sent a letter to HHS offering to work with the department to develop a comprehensive plan to address looming health IT issues in the U.S. health care system, FierceHealthIT reports (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 10/1).

Letter Details

In the letter, HIMSS recommended HHS focus on three key policy initiatives:

  • Electronic reporting of clinical quality measures;
  • Interoperability; and
  • The meaningful use program (McCann, Healthcare IT News, 10/2).

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Specifically, HIMSS urged CMS to adjust the EHR incentive program’s 2015 full-year reporting requirement to a three-month reporting period.

HIMSS also expressed an interest in working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to achieve a nationwide, interoperable health IT infrastructure and with CMS to create a multi-stakeholder IT roadmap to overcome barriers to electronic clinical quality measure reporting.

HIMSS wrote, “We welcome the opportunity to work with ONC to review the multitude of overlapping programs, determine how they currently fit into the larger health IT blueprint and formulate a best approach to revising expectations and timelines working within congressional and administration intent” (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 10/1).

HIMSS Comments on ONC’s Interoperability Plan

HIMSS also praised ONC’s plan to achieve interoperability (HIMSS letter, 9/30).

In June, ONC released a paper outlining a 10-year plan to achieve an interoperable health IT infrastructure in an effort to reduce costs while improving population health and patient engagement (iHealthBeat, 6/5).

Speaking at the American Health Information Management Association’s 2014 conference in San Diego on Monday, National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo announced that a “first iteration roadmap” for achieving interoperability would be available Oct. 15, with the final plan expected in January 2015 (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 10/1).

In its letter, HIMSS shared several recommendations on how ONC could refine its interoperability framework, including:

  • Adopting HIMSS’ definition of interoperability;
  • Facilitating the use of patient privacy preferences; and
  • Offering incentives to providers who achieve interoperability and information exchange beyond meaningful use criteria (HIMSS letter, 9/30).
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