Home > EHR, FDA, meaningful use, Medicare > House Oversight Committee Explores Health IT Interoperability, Meaningful Use, and Ransomware

House Oversight Committee Explores Health IT Interoperability, Meaningful Use, and Ransomware

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on March 22 regarding opportunities and challenges in advancing health information technology. Dr. Karen DeSalvo (HHS National Coordinator for Health IT) and Jessica Rich (Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection) served as witnesses alongside representatives of industry (Mathew Quinn, Intel) and stakeholder coalitions (Neil DeCrescenzo, Healthcare Leadership Council; Mark Savage, National Partnership for Women and Families).

Participating committee members focused their statements and questions on data-sharing issues, such as interoperability concerns related to medical devices, mobile applications, patient wearables, and electronic health record technology. Dr. DeSalvo provided an overview of HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) initiatives to proliferate interoperability, including the ONC’s recent reports to Congress on information blocking and health IT adoption and exchange.

Dr. DeSalvo and Ms. Rich described recent ransomware attacks on hospitals and related issues as a rising privacy and security threat. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) expressed concerns that the HITECH security breach notification requirements do not appear to explicitly address situations in which patient data is frozen in storage by attackers.

Subcommittee on IT Chairman William Hurd (R-Texas-23) asked the witnesses about physician and hospital frustrations with Meaningful Use. The witnesses deflected the question by focusing exclusively on the program’s success in spurring EHR adoption rather than addressing regulatory burdens imposed on MU participants.

Categories: EHR, FDA, meaningful use, Medicare
  1. Kent Hootman MD
    April 4, 2016 at 1:02 am

    The “witnesses” clearly do not represent the interests of practicing physicians or the impact to the patients they care for as a result of the premature and forced implementation of poorly designed healthcare IT platforms and associated “meaningless” metrics.

    • mpetersacr
      April 5, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Correct — physician/provider organizations were not represented.

      Often, many of the questions asked by MOCs at hearings like this are submitted in advance by stakeholders organizations. The MU-related question asked by Chairman Hurd was most likely submitted by a physician/provider organization, but the submitter was clearly uninformed about the witnesses. It would have been an appropriate question to ask someone from the provider world who has dealt with the burden of MU compliance — not the economic beneficiaries or staunch supporters of MU.

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