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New Survey Shows Nearly All U.S. Hospitals Using Certified Health IT to Manage Patient Care

According to data from a new survey to be released today at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., nearly all of the nation’s hospitals have adopted certified electronic health records (EHRs).

This represents a nine-fold increase since 2008, according to survey data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) Information Technology Supplement. The data also show there have been increases in sharing health data among hospitals, with over 85 percent of hospitals sending key clinical information electronically.

For the next three days, ONC will convene key stakeholders across the public and private sector to discuss the collective work to advance the seamless and secure flow of health information for a number of national priorities, including advancing delivery system reform and improving health and facilitates science and research, such as through the Precision Medicine Initiative.

This year’s sessions align with the three core commitments that market leaders have made around improving consumer access to their health information, combating information blocking, and implementing federally recognized, national standards so that different health IT systems can speak the same language. Today’s agenda will include panel discussions with health IT influencers from both the public and private sectors, featuring conversations on high profile topics critical to achieving “Better Health through IT,” this year’s theme.

The day will conclude with a fireside chat between National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., and former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.  Secretary Sebelius oversaw the implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009, which led to a rapid increase in the adoption and use of health IT.

“As we kick off the 2016 ONC Annual Meeting today, these data showing nearly universal adoption of certified electronic health records by U.S. hospitals are an indication of how far we have come for clinicians and individuals since the HITECH Act was passed,” said DeSalvo. “I look forward to these next three days with leaders from across the country to discuss our collective work to ensure health information can flow where and when it is needed for national priorities like delivery system reform, the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Cancer Moonshot, and the opioid crisis.”

Over 1,200 people are expected to attend the 2016 ONC Annual Meeting, with several hundred joining online via streaming webcast.

The ONC data briefs released today show the adoption rate of certified EHRs has increased from almost 72 percent in 2011 (when this information began to be collected) to 96 percent in 2015. While the overall rate for the use of certified health IT has remained stable, the new data show that adoption rates for small, rural, and critical access hospitals increased.

The AHA data also show that:

  • The percentage of hospitals sending, receiving and finding key clinical information grew between 2014 and 2015.
  • In 2015, about half of hospitals had health information electronically available from providers outside their systems; this grew by five percent from 2014.
  • About half of hospitals report they often or sometimes use patient information they receive electronically from providers outside their systems.

The two data briefs, Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems among U.S. Non-Federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2008 – 2015 and Interoperability among U.S. Non-Federal Acute Care Hospitals in 2015 can be viewed at HealthIT.gov.

May 31, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HHS issues rules to advance electronic health records with added simplicity and flexibility

Public comment period offers forum to gather additional feedback and inform future policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released final rules that simplify requirements and add new flexibilities for providers to make electronic health information available when and where it matters most and for health care providers and consumers to be able to readily, safely, and securely exchange that information. The final rule for 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria (2015 Edition) and final rule with comment period for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Programs will help continue to move the health care industry away from a paper-based system, where a doctor’s handwriting needed to be interpreted and patient files could be misplaced.

“We have a shared goal of electronic health records helping physicians, clinicians, and hospitals to deliver better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.  We eliminated unnecessary requirements, simplified and increased flexibility for those that remain, and focused on interoperability, information exchange, and patient engagement. By 2018, these rules move us beyond the staged approach of ‘meaningful use’ and focus on broader delivery system reform,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, M.D., M.Sc., CMS deputy administrator for innovation and quality and chief medical officer. “Most importantly we are seeking additional public comments and plan for active engagement of stakeholders so we take time to get broad input on how to improve these programs over time.”

HHS heard from physicians and other providers about the challenges they face making this technology work well for their individual practices and for their patients. In recognition of these concerns, the regulations announced today make significant changes in current requirements. They will ease the reporting burden for providers, support interoperability, and improve patient outcomes.  Providers can choose the measures of progress that are most meaningful to their practice and have more time to implement changes to program requirements. Providers are encouraged to apply for hardship exceptions if they need to switch or have other technology difficulties with their EHR vendor. Additionally, the new rules give developers more time to create user-friendly technologies that give individuals easier access to their information so they can be engaged and empowered in their care.

As part of today’s regulations, CMS announced a 60-day public comment period to gather additional feedback about the EHR Incentive Programs going forward, in particular with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which established the Merit-based Incentive Payment System and consolidates certain aspects of a number of quality measurement and federal incentive programs into one more efficient framework. We will use this feedback to inform future policy developments for the EHR Incentive Programs, as well as consider it during rulemaking to implement MACRA, which we expect to release in the spring of 2016.

In addition to the final rule for the EHR Incentive Programs, ONC is also announcing the final rule for the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. This rule focuses on increasing interoperability – a secure but seamless flow of electronic health information – and improving transparency and competition in the health IT marketplace.

“This rule is a key step forward in our work with the private sector to realize the shared goal of making actionable electronic health information available when and where it matters most to transform care and improve health for the individual, community and larger population.   It will bring us closer to a world in which health care providers and consumers can readily, safely and securely exchange electronic health information,” said Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., national coordinator for health IT.

For more information about today’s announcement visit: http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-10-06.html

For more information on the CMS final rule with comment period, click here:http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-10-06-2.html

For more information on ONC’s editions of certification criteria visit:
https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/factsheet_draft_2015-10-06.pdf

October 6, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HHS Proposes Path to Improve Health Technology and Transform Care

ONC issues draft nationwide health IT Interoperability Roadmap; Implementation resources also released as first deliverable

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0. The draft Roadmap is a proposal to deliver better care and result in healthier people through the safe and secure exchange and use of electronic health information.

“HHS is working to achieve a better health care system with healthier patients, but to do that, we need to ensure that information is available both to consumers and their doctors,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Great progress has been made to digitize the care experience, and now it’s time to free up this data so patients and providers can securely access their health information when and where they need it. A successful learning system relies on an interoperable health IT system where information can be collected, shared, and used to improve health, facilitate research, and inform clinical outcomes. This Roadmap explains what we can do over the next three years to get there.”

The draft Roadmap builds on the vision paper, Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure,issued in June 2014.  Months of comment and feedback from hundreds of health and health IT experts from across the nation through ONC advisory group feedback, listening sessions and an online forum aided in the development of the Roadmap.

“To realize better care and the vision of a learning health system, we will work together across the public and private sectors to clearly define standards, motivate their use through clear incentives, and establish trust in the health IT ecosystem through defining the rules of engagement.  We look forward to working collaboratively and systematically with federal, state and private sector partners to see that electronic health information is available when and where it matters,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT.

Today’s announcement is linked with the administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative to improve care and speed the development of new treatments, as well as the Department-wide effort to achieve better care, smarter spending and healthier people through improvements to our health care delivery system. As part of this work, HHS is focused on three key areas: (1) improving the way providers are paid, (2) improving and innovating in care delivery, and (3) sharing information more broadly to providers, consumers, and others to support better decisions while maintaining privacy. The draft Roadmap identifies critical actions to achieve success in sharing information and interoperability and outlines a timeframe for implementation.

The draft Roadmap calls for ONC to identify the best available technical standards for core interoperability functions. With today’s announcement, ONC is delivering on this action with the release of the Draft 2015 Interoperability Advisory: The best available standards and implementation specifications for interoperability of clinical health information (“Standards Advisory”). The Standards Advisory represents ONC’s assessment of the best available standards and implementation specifications for clinical health information interoperability as of December 2014.

“ONC’s interoperability Roadmap will help guide our progress toward seamless integration of electronic health record data,” said Mr. Christopher Miller, program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems within the Department of Defense. “We are proud to be working closely with ONC and other public and private partners to ensure that our health care providers have a complete picture of health information from all sources. The availability of this information increases the medical readiness of our operational forces and enables delivery of the highest quality care that our service members, veterans and their families deserve. We look forward to our continued partnership with ONC as we expand the safe and secure exchange of standardized healthcare data to improve the overall health of our nation.”

“The benefits to patients and to the future of American health care in achieving full interoperability are enormous.  A system built on accessible information and secure, meaningful data sharing will elevate health care delivery, advance quality and cost-efficiency and enable new strides in medical research.  We applaud HHS and the Office of the National Coordinator for making interoperability a national priority and we believe that, by bringing together the ideas and technological expertise from both the public and private sectors, it is a foreseeable and achievable goal,” said Mary R. Grealy, president, Healthcare Leadership Council.

“Interoperability plays a critical role in improving the quality, cost, and patient experience of care and is foundational to both consumer decision-making and new models of health care delivery and payment,” said Janet Marchibroda, director of the Health Innovation Initiative and executive director of the CEO Council on Health and Innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “We applaud ONC’s leadership in creating the roadmap and releasing the standards advisory, as well as its ongoing commitment to public engagement in shaping a path forward.”

“While we have made great strides as a nation to improve EHR adoption, we must pivot towards true interoperability based on clear, defined and enforceable standards,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell, F.C.H.I.M.E., C.H.C.I.O. “This Roadmap incorporates a tremendous amount of stakeholder input and articulates a clear path towards interoperability. It is a cornerstone in the continuing evolution of federal health IT policymaking.”

“The HHS interoperability roadmap announced today is an important step forward for all of us committed to a data-driven approach to improving health care. If the public and private sectors will work together on solving the interoperability challenge, we have a chance to significantly improve the practice of medicine and, most importantly, the health of patients across this country. I applaud HHS for its leadership in this area, and I look forward to partnering with the agency on this important initiative,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO, eHealth Initiative.

The draft Roadmap, designed in concert with the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020, is based on a core set of building blocks that are needed to achieve interoperability:

  1. Core technical standards and functions;
  2. Certification to support adoption and optimization of health IT products and services;
  3. Privacy and security protections for health information;
  4. Supportive business, clinical, cultural, and regulatory environments; and
  5. Rules of engagement and governance.

The draft Roadmap and Standards Advisory are available for viewing atwww.healthit.gov/interoperability. The public comment period for the draft Roadmap closes April 3, 2015. The public comment period for the Standards Advisory closes May 1, 2015.

January 30, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

New federal health IT strategic plan sets stage for better sharing through interoperability

Federal Health IT Strategic Plan open for 60-day comment period

Following collaboration with more than 35 federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The Strategic Plan represents a coordinated and focused effort to appropriately collect, share, and use interoperable health information to improve health care, individual, community and public health, and advance research across the federal government and in collaboration with private industry.

The Strategic Plan, which is open for comments, serves as the broad federal strategy setting the context and framing the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap that will be released in early 2015. The Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap will help to define the implementation of how the federal government and private sector will approach sharing health information.

The U.S. Government has led this charge as a major payer, purchaser and provider of care and associated health IT and through programs associated with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. HITECH accelerated the adoption of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology among hospitals and providers, with 93 percent of eligible hospitals and 76 percent of physicians and eligible professionals taking part in the first stage of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In addition, more than 150,000 health care providers across the nation are working with the HITECH-funded regional extension centers to optimize the use of health IT.

“The 2015 Strategic Plan provides the federal government a strategy to move beyond health care to improve health, use health IT beyond EHRs, and use policy and incentive levers beyond the incentive programs,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for health. “The success of this plan is also dependent upon insights from public and private stakeholders and we encourage their comments.”

“We are very pleased to be collaborating with Health and Human Services, and our other federal partners, on developing the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.  This plan aligns with our health IT priorities. As a large provider and purchaser of care, we continually look for ways to expand the sharing of critical healthcare information with our healthcare partners,” said Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P.,principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Department of Defense.

“The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan collectively represents specific goals and strategies for how interoperability will be leveraged to foster the technological advancement of health information exchange to improve quality of care for Veterans while supporting patient-provider interaction,” said Gail Graham, deputy secretary for health informatics and analytics at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Health Information.

Beyond creating financial and regulatory incentives to encourage the use of health IT, the federal government is helping to create a competitive and innovative marketplace. This effort will help bring new tools to health IT consumers and provide tools to help strengthen health care delivery that aligns with other national strategies to improve health including safety, quality, prevention, and reducing disparities.

The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020 can be found on HealthIT.gov. The period to comment on the Strategic Plan ends Feb. 6, 2015.

Today’s data brief found that the ability to easily share electronic information with other care givers, an important component of chronic care management, is also a major motivation for physicians to adopt EHRs. Among physicians who adopted health IT before incentive funds were available, the ability to electronically exchange clinical information with other health care providers was the greatest motivator for adoption. More than a third of physicians who adopted EHRs after HITECH was enacted cited this capability as a major influence in their decision to adopt, and almost 4 in 10 physicians who were not using an EHR reported that the ability to electronically exchange clinical information would be a major driver in their decision to adopt.

December 8, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Financial incentives and ability to exchange clinical information found to be top reasons for EHR adoption

The need to share patient information with other providers and the use of financial incentives are key drivers in why many providers adopt and use health information technology tools like electronic health records (EHRs), according a data brief released today from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

The new data brief details why physicians decided to adopt – or not adopt –EHRs, and it helps to explain how financial incentives drive EHR adoption. The data, from the 2013 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, also highlights the high level of importance providers put on health information exchange.

The data demonstrates the importance of incentive programs like the HITECH Act’s Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs (meaningful use) and payments for services that include use of certified EHR technology, such as the separately billable Chronic Care Management services finalized under the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. ONC today posted a new tool to help clinicians estimate the amount of money they might receive from treating Medicare patients living with chronic conditions, while using their certified health information technology, on the HealthIT.gov dashboard.

The results released today show that since the enactment of HITECH in 2009, 62 percent of physicians who adopted health IT tools identified financial incentives and penalties as a major influence on their decision to adopt, compared with only 23 percent of physicians who adopted before 2009.

“We have seen a significant increase in the adoption and use of health IT systems among providers and the new data shows the importance of incentives in building an interoperable health IT system,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary of health. “National delivery system reform initiatives linked to certified technology, such as the separately billable chronic care management services, will help make the electronic use and sharing of health information a reality.”

Today’s data brief found that the ability to easily share electronic information with other care givers, an important component of chronic care management, is also a major motivation for physicians to adopt EHRs. Among physicians who adopted health IT before incentive funds were available, the ability to electronically exchange clinical information with other health care providers was the greatest motivator for adoption. More than a third of physicians who adopted EHRs after HITECH was enacted cited this capability as a major influence in their decision to adopt, and almost 4 in 10 physicians who were not using an EHR reported that the ability to electronically exchange clinical information would be a major driver in their decision to adopt.

December 5, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

ONC Welcomes 2 New Members to their Office of Communications and Public Affairs

ONC Acting National Coordinator Lisa Lewis about two new hires at ONC’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs.  Here’s her letter to the ONC team:

Team –

We have two new members on the ONC Team. Chartese Day and Amanda Woodhead started with ONC on Monday, November 17th. Chartese and Amanda bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Office of Public Affairs and Communications (see bios below). We are very excited to have them on the team! Both of their offices are in HHH 729D. Please stop by and say hello as schedules allow.

Also, let’s extend our thanks to Peter Ashkenaz for serving as the acting OPAC Director for the last few months. Peter, you are greatly appreciated!

Sincerely, Lisa

*************************************

Chartése Day

Chartése joined ONC on Monday, November 17th as the new Director of the Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC). Prior to ONC, Chartése spent more than a decade as a senior strategist at top international public relations firms leading award-winning programs and campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, major healthcare trade associations and non-profit groups. Chartése has deep expertise in public health awareness and education campaign programming, stakeholder engagement, regulatory communications, issues management, crisis and litigation communications and multicultural outreach. Chartése’s specific therapeutic area and category experience includes implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), infectious disease, cardiovascular, pain management, respiratory, women’s health, mental health and food and nutrition. Her past clients have included Universal Health Services, CareFirst, Kaiser Permanente, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, American Nurse Credentialing Center, Wal-Mart, Merck, Pfizer, and  Johnson & Johnson among others.

A native of Washington, D.C., Chartése began her career as an aide for the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Chartése earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Maryland and a Bachelors of International Business from George Mason University.

Amanda Woodhead

Amanda Woodhead joined ONC on Monday, November 17th as the Stakeholder Engagement Lead in OPAC.  Amanda comes to ONC following six years at health IT vendor, Emdeon. While there, she led corporate communications and media efforts including traditional, tradeshow, social media and crisis communications as well as industry relations and executive events. She previously served as a public relations manager at Windsor Health Group, a senior publicist for Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson publishers and a public affairs officer for the U.S. Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan.

Amanda holds a BA in Journalism from Mississippi University for Women and a MS in International Relations from Troy State University. She is an active volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of her father, a multiple myeloma survivor. In 2012, she participated in the Washington DC area Man and Woman of the Year campaign to benefit LLS and was awarded the community involvement award for outstanding community outreach. She lives in Arlington with her spouse and 8 year old daughter and spends most weekends (in the fall at least) watching SEC football and cheering on the Mississippi State Bulldogs!

November 20, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

ONC Announces Lucia Savage, Esq. As New Chief Privacy Officer

Karen DeSalvo sent the following announcement about the change:

Good morning ONC Team,

I am thrilled to announce that Lucia Savage, Esq. will join HHS and ONC as the Chief Privacy Officer.  She brings to our team a set of rich experiences at the intersection of health information, privacy, and modernizing the health care delivery system.  She has stellar qualifications and a passion for health IT in this nation and our work. I am confident that she will bring her wealth of experience to advance critical privacy and security policies in health IT development and implementation.

Lucia is currently Senior Associate General Counsel at UnitedHealthcare, where she supervises a team that represents UnitedHealthcare in its work in large data transactions related to health information exchanges, health care transparency projects, and other data-driven health care innovation projects.  She has served on the Governance Board of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Multi-Payer Claims data base project (2011-2013), and collaborated with health information exchanges and state agencies in their planning with payers.

Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare, Lucia was General Counsel at the non-profit Pacific Business Group on Health, where she oversaw the legal affairs and state policy initiatives for one of the nation’s oldest employer health care purchasing coalitions and its small group health insurance exchange, PacAdvantage.  At PBGH, Lucia applied her 15 years of experience as an employee benefit attorney, in both compliance and litigation, and expanded her practice to include health care regulation, data transactions, health care reform, and HIPAA implementation.  Before joining PBGH, she served as Stanford University’s benefits compliance officer.

Lucia has a BA from Mills College in Oakland, CA, and received her Juris Doctor summa cum laude from New York University School of Law in May 1989, where she was awarded the Order of the Coif.  She is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Corporate Counsel Association, and the American Health Lawyers Association. Lucia has authored many articles and given many lectures.  Most recently, she has been emphasizing the importance of cost and quality transparency in health care, and has been working on the complex issues of maintaining patient privacy while working to fully realize the potential of health information exchange for better patient care in a learning health care system.

Lucia will join ONC on October 20th.  I know that you will all welcome her and help to make her transition as seamless and smooth as possible.  She is ready to hit the ground running and is looking forward to getting to know everyone.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Kathryn Marchesini who has served as Acting Chief Privacy Officer over the past few months. Kathryn is an exceptional public servant, brilliant attorney and excellent manager.  She has been and will continue to be a valued and invaluable member of our team.

Best,

kd

Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc

October 14, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

CHIME Statement on Finalization of Meaningful Use ‘Modifications’ Rule

From Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO, President and CEO

This afternoon the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) finalized a regulation granting providers additional flexibility in meeting Meaningful Use (MU) requirements in 2014. However, the final rule lacked a key provision that would ensure continued EHR adoption and MU participation

CHIME is deeply disappointed in the decision made by CMS and ONC to require 365-days of EHR reporting in 2015. This single provision has severely muted the positive impacts of this final rule. Further, it has all but ensured that industry struggles will continue well beyond 2014.

Roughly 50% of EHs and CAHs were scheduled to meet Stage 2 requirements this year and nearly 85% of EHs and CAHs will be required to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2015. Most hospitals who take advantage of new pathways made possible through this final rule will not be in a position to meet Stage 2 requirements beginning October 1, 2014. This means that penalties avoided in 2014 will come in 2015, and millions of dollars will be lost due to misguided government timelines.

Nearly every stakeholder group echoed recommendations made by CHIME to give providers the option of reporting any three-month quarter EHR reporting period in 2015. This sensible recommendation, if taken, would have assuaged industry concerns over the pace and trajectory of rulemaking; it would have pushed providers to meet a higher bar, without pushing them off the cliff; and it would have ensured the long-term vitality of the program itself. Now, the very future of Meaningful Use is in question.

August 29, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

New CMS rule allows flexibility in certified EHR technology for 2014

Rule will help more providers use electronic health record technology

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule today that allows health care providers more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use for an EHR Incentive Program reporting period for 2014. By providing this flexibility, more providers will be able to participate and meet important meaningful use objectives like drug interaction and drug allergy checks, providing clinical summaries to patients, electronic prescribing, reporting on key public health data and reporting on quality measures.

“We listened to stakeholder feedback and provided CEHRT flexibility for 2014 to help ensure providers can continue to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs forward,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator. “We were excited to see that there is overwhelming support for this change.”

Based on public comments and feedback from stakeholders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) identified ways to help eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) implement and meaningfully use Certified EHR Technology. Specifically, eligible providers can use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for an EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs; All eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs are required to use the 2014 Edition CEHRT in 2015.

These updates to the EHR Incentive Programs support HHS’ commitment to implementing an effective health information technology infrastructure that elevates patient-centered care, improves health outcomes, and supports the providers that care for patients.

The rule also finalizes the extension of Stage 2 through 2016 for certain providers and announces the Stage 3 timeline, which will begin in 2017 for providers who first became meaningful EHR users in 2011 or 2012.

An updated meaningful use timeline and a chart with 2011 and 2014 CEHRT Edition options are available at http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2014-Press-releases-items/2014-08-29.html.

For more information about the EHR Incentive Programs, please visithttp://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms. For more information about CEHRT, please visit http://www.healthit.gov/certification.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

CMS Rule to Change EHR Certification Requirement and Meaningful Use Stage 2 Schedule

Rule also proposes to extend Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs through 2016

Today, HHS published a new proposed rule that would provide eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use. The proposed rule, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), would let providers use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for the EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Beginning in 2015, all eligible hospitals and professionals would still be required to report using 2014 Edition CEHRT. Since the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs began in 2011, more than 370,000 hospitals and professionals nationwide have received an incentive payment.

“We have seen tremendous participation in the EHR Incentive Programs since they began,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “By extending Stage 2, we are being receptive to stakeholder feedback to ensure providers can continue to meet meaningful use and keep momentum moving forward.”

The proposed rule also includes a provision that would formalize CMS and ONC’s previously stated intention to extend Stage 2 through 2016 and begin Stage 3 in 2017. These proposed changes would address concerns raised by stakeholders and will encourage the continued adoption of Certified EHR Technology.

“Increasing the adoption of EHRs is key to improving the nation’s health care system and the steps we are taking today will give new options to those who, through no fault of their own, have been unable to get the new 2014 Edition technology, including those at high risk, such as smaller providers and rural hospitals,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H, M.Sc., national coordinator for health information technology.

Proposed changes to meaningful use timeline

New Meaningful Use and EHR Certification Timelines - Meaningful Use Stage 2 Delay

For more information about the EHR Incentive Programs, please visit http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms. For more information about CEHRT, please visit http://www.healthit.gov.

May 20, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.