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HHS Names Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge Winners

Thousands of submissions received from more than 140 teams

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced the winners of the Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge.

ONC selected the winning submissions from over 140 competing teams and almost 7,000 submissions using an ONC-provided dataset.  “Patient matching” in health IT describes the techniques used to identify and match the data about patients held by one healthcare provider with the data about the same patients held either within the same system or by another system (or many other systems). The inability to successfully match patients to any and all of their data records can impede interoperability resulting in patient safety risks and decreased provider efficiency.

“Many experts across the healthcare system have long identified the ability to match patients efficiently, accurately, and to scale as a critical interoperability need for the nation’s growing health IT infrastructure.  This challenge was an important step towards better understanding the current landscape,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology.

Winners include:

Best “F-score” (a measure of accuracy that factors in both precision and recall):

  • First Place ($25,000): Vynca
  • Second Place ($20,000): PICSURE
  • Third Place ($15,000): Information Softworks

Best First Run ($5,000): Information Softworks

Best Recall ($5,000): PICSURE

Best Precision ($5,000): PICSURE

Each winner employed widely different methods.   PICSURE used an algorithm based on the Fellegi-Sunter (1969) method for probabilistic record matching and performed a significant amount of manual review. Vynca used a stacked model that combined the predictions of eight different models. They reported that they manually reviewed less than .01 percent of the records. Although Information Softworks also used a Fellegi-Sunter-based enterprise master patient index (EMPI)system with some additional tuning, they also reported extremely limited manual review.

The dataset and scoring platform used in the challenge will remain available for students, researchers, or anyone else interested in additional analysis and algorithm development, and can be accessed via the Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge website.

November 8, 2017 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 winners of consumer and provider app challenges to improve health information access and use

Apps highlight the use of promising new tools and standards

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced the Phase 2 winners for the Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and the Provider User Experience Challenge.  ONC designed these challenges to spur the development of market-ready applications (apps) that would enable consumers and providers to aggregate health data from different sources into one secure, user-friendly product.

Challenge submissions were required to use Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) and open application programming interfaces (APIs), which are both strongly supported by ONC. These types of modern technologies can make it easier and more efficient to retrieve and share information.

“We are thrilled to recognize new tools that make it easier for individuals and clinicians to access health information and put it to use,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, national coordinator for health information technology (IT). “These apps reflect the incredible progress that is possible as a result of the digital health infrastructure that the public and private sector have built together over the last eight years.”

Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge Winners

The Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge asked submitters to address a need that many consumers have today – the ability to easily and electronically access and securely integrate their health data from different health care providers using a variety of different health IT systems.

PatientLink Enterprises won first place and the $50,000 prize. Its solution, MyLinks, is a cloud-based application that makes it easy to gather, manage, and share patient data using several methods including FHIR® and Direct messaging, a method for sending authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the internet. Using the app, patients can also participate in research, monitor data from remote devices, and use interactive tools.

The second place and “connector” prizes, each with an award amount of $25,000, were won byGreen Circle Health.  This application uses FHIR® to import patient data into a platform integrating a comprehensive family health dashboard that includes personal and medical device data, remote monitoring, and reminders.

In addition, the 1upHealth, which helps patients organize and share data from disparate sources, is being recognized as an Honorable Mention.

Provider User Experience Challenge Winners

The Provider User Experience Challenge focused on demonstrating how data made accessible to apps through APIs can enhance health care providers’ use of their electronic health record (EHR) systems by making clinical workflows more efficient and intuitive.

The first place prize, with an award amount of $50,000, was won by Herald Health. Its solution helps clinicians manage the overwhelming flow of alerts and information by allowing them to create highly customizable push notifications. These can be tailored to both individual patients and groups and exported to fellow users.

The second place and “connector” prizes, each with an award amount of $25,000, were won by the collaboration of University of Utah Health Care, Intermountain Healthcare, and Duke Health.Their solution is a clinical decision support tool that can provide recommendations for the treatment of babies with jaundice detected at birth based on the level of liver waste products found in their blood.

In addition, PHRASE Health, which uses clinical decision support to help clinicians align with priorities such as public health alerts, is being recognized as an Honorable Mention.

These efforts are part of a larger community-driven movement toward helping individuals and clinicians benefit from our nation’s rapidly evolving health IT infrastructure, including the adoption of ONC-certified electronic health records by nearly all U.S. hospitals and most physicians.  The efforts also align with several policy objectives outlined in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap – PDF, the Interoperability Commitments, and ONC’s Health IT Certification Program. The availability and secure interoperable exchange of health data, and the technologies developed through these initiatives, also have the potential to support other key initiatives, such as delivery system reform, the Precision Medicine Initiative, the National Cancer Moonshot, and efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

For more information, visit the ONC’s Connecting and Accelerating a FHIR App Ecosystem page.

January 13, 2017 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 awards funding to help protect health sector against cyber threats

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded cooperative agreements totaling $350,000 to strengthen the ability of health care and public health sector partners to respond to cybersecurity threats. The agreements will foster the development of a more vibrant cyber information sharing ecosystem within health care and public health sector.

HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) awarded acooperative agreement to the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC) of Ormond Beach, Florida, to provide cybersecurity information and education on cyber threats to healthcare sector stakeholders. HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) awarded a cooperative agreement to NH-ISAC to help build the infrastructure necessary to disseminate cyber threat information securely to healthcare partners.

“These agreements mark a critical first step toward addressing the growing threat cybersecurity poses to the health care and public health sector,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS’ assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “Creating a more robust exchange about cybersecurity threats will help the industry prevent, detect and respond to these threats and better protect patients’ privacy and personally identifiable information.”

“The security of electronic health information is foundational to our increasingly digitized health system,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, national coordinator for health information technology. “This funding will help healthcare organizations of all sizes more easily and effectively share information about cyber threats and responses in order to protect their data and the health of their patients.”

Security breaches and ransomware attacks on the public healthcare system have been on the rise in recent years, as has the average cost associated with these attacks. Today, the cost of cybersecurity breaches averages $3.8 million per attack, according to a recent study. While some healthcare entities have adequate resources to contract with information sharing analysis organizations that could to inform them about cyber incidents, smaller healthcare entities often do not.

Through a streamlined cyber threat information sharing process, HHS will be able to send cyber threat information to a single entity, which then will share that information widely to support the full range of stakeholders. This approach helps ensure that smaller health care providers have the information they need to take appropriate action.

The agreements also will help build the capacity of NH-ISAC to receive cyber threat information from member healthcare entities. Information about any system breaches and ransomware attacks will be relayed through a more robust cyber information sharing environment, as will information about steps healthcare entities should take to protect their health information technology systems.

ASPR leads HHS in preparing the nation to respond to and recover from adverse health effects of emergencies, supporting communities’ ability to withstand adversity, strengthening health and response systems, and enhancing national health security.  To learn more about ASPR, visit the HHS public health and medical emergency website, phe.gov.

ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. To learn more about ONC, visit HealthIT.gov.

HHS is the principal federal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

October 4, 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.

ONC Announces Phase 1 Winners of Consumer Health Data Aggregator and Provider User Experience Challenges

Challenges designed to foster private sector innovation to enable consumers and providers to easily and securely access and share electronic health information

Today the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced the Phase 1 winners of two application (app) challenges to make electronic health information easier to access and use for both consumers and providers. Applicants were challenged to use the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard and open application programming interfaces (APIs), which are modern resources that make it easier to retrieve and share information superseding what currently exist in most EHRs. The two challenges, the Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and the Provider User Experience Challenge, were announced by Dr. Karen DeSalvo, national coordinator for health information technology, at the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference on March 1, 2016.

Consumer Health Data Aggregator Winners

The following submissions were chosen as the best solutions addressing a need that many consumers have today – the ability to easily and electronically access their health data from different health care providers using a variety of different health IT systems.

The four winners of Phase 1 of the ONC Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge, who will each receive a $15,000 award, are:

Green Circle Health: The Green Circle platform intends to provide a comprehensive family health dashboard covering the full Common Clinical Data Set and using FHIR to transfer patient information. It will also incorporate patient-generated health data from wearables, sensors, and other connected devices.

HealthCentrix: The Prevvy Family Health Assistant app suite provides the capabilities to manage an entire family’s health and wellness, including targeted information exchange. The platform incorporates both FHIR and Direct messaging with EHRs certified to Meaningful Use Stage 2.

Medyear: Medyear’s mobile app utilizes FHIR to merge a patient’s records from multiple sources into one clean interface. It borrows a social media-like newsfeed style to show real-time EHR updates and provides easy functionality to message and call clinicians.

MetroStar Systems:  The Locket app brings patient information from different EHRs together into a single mobile device. The app provides additional capabilities including paper-free check in and appointment scheduling and reminders.

“It is exciting to see the level of innovation that is taking place in health IT today,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, principal deputy national coordinator, announcing the Phase 1 winners at a Capitol Hill event on July 18. “The apps that these challenges will produce have the potential to spur real-world improvements for individuals and clinicians throughout the health system.”

The Provider User Experience Challenge similarly promotes the use of FHIR, but focuses on demonstrating how data made accessible to apps through APIs can enhance providers’ experience with EHRs by making clinical workflows more intuitive, specific to clinical specialty, and actionable.

The four winners of Phase 1 of the ONC Provider User Experience Challenge, who will each receive a $15,000 award, are:

Herald Health: the Herald platform leverages FHIR to highlight the patient information that clinicians need the most. Its integration of FHIR will help enable highly customizable, IFTTT-like (“if this, then that”) alerts based on real-time EHR data.

PHRASE Health: PHRASE (Population Health Risk Assessment Support Engine) Health aims to create a clinical decision support platform, to help better manage emerging illnesses, incorporate more external data sources into the identification of at-risk patients, and allow for the two-way exchange of data and knowledge between public health and frontline providers.

University of Utah Health Care / Intermountain Healthcare / Duke Health System:a multi-institutional, collaborative effort to provide clinical decision support for timely diagnosis and management of newborn bilirubin according to evidence-based best practices. The collaboration intends to integrate the app across each member’s EHR platform.

WellSheet: WellSheet’s web application seeks to utilize machine learning and natural language processing to prioritize relevant information during a patient visit. Its algorithm simplifies workflows that must incorporate multiple data sources, including those enabled by FHIR, and presents information in a single screen.

Phase 1 applicants for each of the two challenges were required to submit a series of plans for their proposed apps, including designs or screenshots, technical specifications, business/sustainability plans, and proposed provider and/or electronic health record (EHR) vendor partners to test their work. Both challenges now move to Phase 2, where the apps themselves will be evaluated.  Phase 2 remains open to all potential applicants—including those that did not provide a Phase 1 submission—with submissions due November 7, 2016. In each challenge, a grand prize, a second place prize, and an “Ultimate Connector” prize will be awarded, for a total value of $100,000.

These efforts are part of a larger community-driven movement toward helping individuals and clinicians benefit from the full potential of health IT.  They align with several policy objectives outlined in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, the Interoperability Commitments, and ONC’s Health IT Certification Program. The availability and interoperable exchange of health data and the technologies developed through this initiatives also have the potential to support other priority work such as delivery system reform, the Precision Medicine Initiative, the National Cancer Moonshot, and efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

For more information, visit the ONC’s Connecting and Accelerating a FHIR App Ecosystem.

July 18, 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.

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.