Health IT To Play Critical Role in Payment Reform Initiative

March 26, 2015 in News

Health IT and interoperability will play key roles in an initiative launched this week to promote the adoption of alternative health care payment modes, FierceHealthIT reports (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 3/25).

Details of Initiative

In January, President Obama announced the Healthcare Payment Learning and Action Network, which seeks to facilitate the creation of value-based payment models. The network aligns with HHS’ goal of tying 30% of Medicare payments to such models by 2016 and 50% of payments by 2018.

Registration for the network began in February, and 2,800 participants have enrolled (Goedert, Health Data Management, 3/26). Participants can have varying degrees of involvement, from supporting the idea that progress toward meeting national goals should be measured to collaborating with others to develop standard definitions of alternative payment models, according to the Wall Street Journal (Armour, Wall Street Journal, 3/25).

A guiding committee will identify priorities and present recommendations to an independent contractor. Meanwhile, workgroups will address specific topics regarding alternative payment models (Health Data Management, 3/26).

Importance of Health IT

At the network’s launch event on Wednesday, several stakeholders highlighted how health IT will facilitate the transition to new payment models.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said one priority of the initiative will be providing consumers and health care providers with access to electronic health data.

In addition, National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo cited her agency’s interoperability roadmap as a tool for improving the way that information is distributed.

She said, “We’re working tirelessly to open up data and put it in the hands of patients and providers alike,” adding, “Streamlining, improving the way we pay for care, and the way in which we deliver care and how information is distributed are all essential to improving [patients'] lives” (FierceHealthIT, 3/25).

Meanwhile, Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO of the eHealth Initiative, also said health IT will be critical to the initiative’s success.

She said, “Everyone will be focused on figuring out how to move the data so you can use it for alternative payment models” (Health Data Management, 3/26).

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