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Archive for April, 2011

PCAST Report Workgroup’s Analysis and Letter to ONC

April 28, 2011 Leave a comment

During the April 2011 HIT Policy Committee meeting, the PCAST Report Workgroup presented its analysis and transmittal letter regarding implementation recommendations and strategies in the wake of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report titled “Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward.”

PCAST is an advisory body administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  The PCAST report on HIT was the focus of much debate when it was originally published in December 2010.

Soon after publication of the report, the HIT Policy Committee established a workgroup to assist the ONC with analyzing the recommendations, digesting the public comments received in response to ONC’s request for information (RFI) in December 2010, and developing advice for how the PCAST’s ideas could be integrated with existing federal initiatives.

The Radiological Society of North America and American College of Radiology submitted joint comments in response to the ONC’s RFI back in January 2011.

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Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

ACR Invited by ONC to Participate in May 13 Meaningful Use Workgroup Meeting

April 25, 2011 1 comment

The Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) recently invited the Vice Chair of ACR’s IT and Informatics Committee, Dr. Keith Dreyer, to participate at the May 13 public meeting of the HIT Policy Committee-Meaningful Use (MU) Workgroup on “specialists and MU.”  This will be the first time ONC held a federal advisory committee meeting on specialist issues since October 2009; several months before publication of the Stage 1 proposed MU regulations for public comment in January 2010.

Dr. Dreyer will be a panelist for the subtopic of “EHR Support of Specialists in Patient Care and CDS.”  The other three panels will cover “Care Coordination Among Specialists, Primary Care, Care Management, Patients; “Population Data, including Registries;” and “Experience from the Field.”

The agenda specifications do not really provide an opportunity for discussion of many of ACR’s concerns related to MU, but there is some leeway for discussing issues related to ONC’s technology requirements.  Additionally, the CDS portion of the discussion will be a good opportunity to advocate for referring physicians’ use of radiology order entry systems with CDS tied to appropriateness criteria guidelines.

The following guiding questions were provided to panelists:

  1. How can EHRs facilitate specialty care of individual patients?
  2. How do you currently support decision-making in your practice?
  3. How does your specialty generate new knowledge (e.g., clinical guidelines)?
  4. How do you disseminate this new knowledge amongst your specialty?
  5. How do you incorporate new knowledge into EHRs (e.g., partnerships with EHR manufacturers)?
The panel will also feature a representative of the College of American Pathologists and someone from the mental/behavioral health community.
Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

NIH Publishes Sources Sought Notice on Patient-Controlled Image Exchange

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week, the NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) published a Sources Sought Notice (SS) regarding diagnostic image exchange via a patient-controlled system.  The purpose of the SS is to identify qualified small businesses and similar entities that are interested and able to provide for the type of image exchange specified in the body of the notice.

NIH might decide to publish a Request for Proposal depending on the submissions they receive in response to the SS.

Categories: research

CMS Adds Third Party Registration/Attestation Option for the EHR Incentive Program

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday marked the beginning of the earliest possible attestation for participants that began compliance with the EHR Incentive Program (or “meaningful use”) in early January 2011. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are interested in getting as many early attestations as possible to compile and analyze the participation data; however, there is no added benefit to individual physicians (other than an earlier bonus) for attesting early on. In fact, participating physicians who attest near the end of 2012 will receive the same incentive dollars as those who attest now.

More important than the start of attestation, CMS added a new option for third parties to register and attest on behalf of eligible professionals (EPs). Until yesterday, individual physicians were advised by CMS to register and attest for themselves because of concerns associated with sharing an EP’s National Plan & Provider Enumeration System account information with a third party.

Those registering/attesting on behalf of an EP must have an Identity and Access Management System user account and be associated with the EP’s National Provider Identifier. CMS recently updated its Attestation User Guide to include information about this new option.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

ONC Extends Comment Period on Draft Update to the Federal HIT Strategic Plan

April 18, 2011 Leave a comment
ONC Federal HIT Strategic Plan

ONCs Federal HIT Strategic Plan

This afternoon, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) announced a short extension of the comment period for the (draft) Federal HIT Strategic Plan.  Stakeholder comments will now be accepted until May 6 via the Health IT Buzz blog.  There are approximately 83 submissions as of this writing.

One of the challenges ONC is probably encountering is that the blog, while a useful vehicle for staff to share informal announcements with the public, is not the best mechanism for a federal agency to collect feedback from professional organizations and other interested groups. ONC did publish an official notice in the Federal Register on March 29, but did not provide a more formal means of comment submission.

Please see my March 25 post for more information on ONC’s request for comments regarding the draft update to the Federal HIT Strategic Plan.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, research

House Passes Compromise Continuing Resolution for FY 2011

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for FY 2011 (H.R. 1473) by a vote of 260 to 167 with 59 defectors from the Republican side.  H.R. 1473 is the compromise budget bill worked out by the Administration, House, and Senate leaders late last Friday.  Most experts expect the Senate to pass the bill later tonight, barring a surprise.

Unlike the House-passed, Senate-defeated H.R. 1, the compromise bill does not include language that would rescind unobligated American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, or “economic stimulus”) funds.  After a quick skim-through, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT appears to be largely unaffected except for a roughly 0.2 percent cut on all non-defense discretionary spending.

On an interesting note, the compromise bill requires that the Government Accountability Office perform an audit of expenditures made for comparative effectiveness research (CER) through ARRA or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or “healthcare reform”) funds provided to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other HHS agencies.  The compromise also features a roughly 1 percent reduction for NIH from FY 2010 levels (after adding up the various reductions to NIH programs and infrastructure).

Farzad Mostashari Formally Named National Coordinator for HIT

April 8, 2011 1 comment
Farzad Mostashari

Farzad Mostashari

According to ONC’s website, Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius formally named Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM as the National Coordinator for HIT.  Dr. Mostashari had been serving in an Acting capacity since Dr. David Blumenthal’s departure a couple weeks ago.  Previously, Dr. Mostashari served as Deputy to the National Coordinator.

ACR representatives have met with Dr. Mostashari in the past, including as part of the Imaging e-Ordering Coalition.  He is very knowledgeable about the technical aspects of HIT and HIE; perhaps more so than previous National Coordinators.  He was also a key ONC liaison to CMS during the Stage 1 Meaningful Use rulemakings in 2009-2010.

As of this writing, HHS.gov has not posted a media release publicizing this important decision.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use
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