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Archive for December, 2014

Federal HIT Strategic Plan – 2014 Update

December 10, 2014 2 comments

The HIT Policy Committee (HITPC) and HIT Standards Committee (HITSC) of the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) focused on the recently updated Federal HIT Strategic Plan in rare back-to-back meetings December 9 and 10.

The revised Federal HIT Strategic Plan (released Monday) is an ARRA/HITECH-mandated, non-binding document to identify broad milestones over certain periods of time for federal agencies related to health IT, including dozens of agencies outside of HHS (NASA, Bureau of Prisons, DOD, Education, and so on). The update released for comment on Monday was the third version (2008 and 2011 being the priors). Critical to understanding the scope of this document, it does not address private sector/physician/industry activities or goals, but rather what outcomes government actors should strive for over the next 3 and 6 years.

Meanwhile, the anticipated “National Interoperability Roadmap” is expected to be published around January. Most importantly, the proposed rules to update the EHR Incentive Program participation and technology certification requirements are on the horizon for early 2015 (probably/maybe).

HHS Announces New ONC Data Brief on EHR Adoption Motivations

December 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Earlier today, the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) announced the publication of the ONC Data Brief No. 21, “Physician Motivations for Adoption of Electronic Health Records.” The data brief attempts to explore stakeholder decisions to move forward (or not) with EHR adoption.

Unfortunately, as with all EHR adoption reports based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) NAMCS survey and supplemental surveys from 2011-2013, a large chunk of the EHR Incentive Program eligible professional (EP) population (nearly 17% if CMS’ EP denominator is to be believed)—anesthesiologists, pathologists, and radiologists—are explicitly not included. Moreover, the CDC/NAMCS concept of an “EHR” is not always aligned with the ONC’s regulatory concept of “certified EHR technology.” So, while the CDC survey data may be useful for some things, it is not particularly helpful for understanding overall physician views of CMS’ EHR Incentive Program.

This is not new.  The CDC’s annual surveys have omitted anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology data for years because they are based on a pre-ARRA understanding of the world. This kind of data would be more helpful if the surveyed population aligned with the real makeup of CMS and ONC’s stakeholders and better reflected the current, post-ARRA landscape.