Health IT Now Encouraged by HHS Proposed Rules

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Health IT Now Coalition issued the following statement applauding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for issuing two proposed rules that will improve the use of technology in federal health programs to improve health, lower costs and reduce regulatory burdens on healthcare providers. On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Meaningful Use Stage 3 and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria.

“We believe the proposed rules are finally moving the Meaningful Use program in the right direction by requiring interoperability between health IT systems, providing the patient with tools to engage in their own care and establishing a standard where the market can develop new technologies that will save money and improve patient outcomes,” said Joel White, Executive Director of Health IT Now. “The two rules allow the market to innovate and transform the healthcare system by establishing the architecture standards for the Internet of Health IT Things.”

Health IT Now is encouraged by CMS’s Meaningful Use Stage 3 proposed rulemaking for the following reasons:

  • Meaningful Use has been streamlined to 8 core objectives that focus more directly on measures that improve care through sharing of health information.
  • The rule requires use of Patient APIs, or a way that allows the patient to control their access, use and sharing of health information.
  • Stage 3 as proposed increases the requirement for at least 25 percent of patients to access information online, compared to 5 percent today.
  • All providers must be at the same definition and required to electronically submit clinical quality measure data by a date certain, in this case 2018.

Health IT Now also applauds the ONC 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria for the following reasons:

  • The criteria expand certification beyond Meaningful Use-eligible providers to all providers.
  • Criteria align all certification programs to include interoperability through APIs and exchange of a standard summary of care using a new Common Clinical Data set.

“These changes are important steps forward. The Patient API change in and of itself is elegant. It allows patients to control more of their information while expanding interoperability,” White continued. “We also support reducing burdens on healthcare providers, the folks who have to implement these changes. We believe HHS could go one step further and only approve measures that can be reported electronically. We need to scrap paper and pen in the health IT program.”

About the Health IT Now Coalition:  Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers and payers that supports incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, provider performance, patient outcomes and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.

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