April 01, 2013
1 min read

HHS revises action plan for health information exchange

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The Department of Health and Human Services has announced its plan to accelerate implementation of the health information exchange.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are improving the way care is delivered while lowering costs,” Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for CMS, stated in a press release. “We are already seeing benefits, such as a reduction in hospital readmissions due to these reforms. Health IT and the secure exchange of information across providers are crucial to reforming the system and must be a routine part of care delivery.”

Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to implement the following actions in 2013:

  • expand to 50% of physician offices using electronic health records (EHR) and 80% of eligible hospitals receiving meaningful use incentive payments by the end of 2013;
  • increase interoperability across providers in the electronic exchange through a request for information (RFI) by requesting public input about policies;
  • enhance EHR use through initiatives like the Blue Button initiative and working with the Veterans Administration and other organizations to make health care information available to patients and health plan members;
  • implement rules defining what kind of data will be exchanged between health IT systems, as well as how data should be structured and coded; and
  • maintain the integrity of the program, conduct medical reviews and provide comparative billing reports.
  • CMS noted in the release that adoption of EHR increased to 44% in 2012, and computerized physician order entry has increased by 168% since 2008.

“The 2014 standards for electronic health records create the technical capacity for providers to be able to share information with each other and with the patient,” Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for Health Information Technology, stated in the release. “Through the RFI, we are interested in hearing about policies that could provide an even greater business case for such information sharing.” – by Jeff Craven