Looking Back at 2014 and Forward to 2015

(January 2015)   As 2015 begins, the EHRA leadership has taken some time to put together what we see as the major achievements for our association in 2014, in the context of the challenges we and our customers have faced.

  • We’ve successfully continued our ongoing dialog with policymakers in the Administration (e.g. ONC and CMS) and on Capitol Hill to provide education and insights about the impacts and opportunities of the meaningful use (MU) program, the push for increased interoperability, and patient safety oversight concepts, along with a number of other timely and high priority issues.
  • We continued and increased our collaborative relationship with provider organizations – including the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), among others – to align on usability and other EHR-related issues.
  • In 2014, our members continued to deploy certified software to meet updated MU and certification requirements on tight timelines to hundreds of thousands of providers across the US. This accomplishment is particularly notable given the complexity and uncertainty of many of these requirements, especially the uncertainty around electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) and related testing tools.
  • Finally, EHR developers, both EHRA members and non-members, have demonstrated their support by signing up for the EHR Developer Code of Conduct – launched in June 2013 with first adopters, now 21 total companies have signed the Code.

Moving into 2015, we expect continued challenges and opportunities related to requirements for new payment and delivery models and the need to balance regulatory requirements with an increasing focus on usability and our customers’ demand for innovation. We look forward to these important opportunities and milestones in the coming year:

  • Our members will continue to work with customers to meet meaningful use requirements, including increased interoperability, which will also require EHR developers to work even more collaboratively with other EHR developers and health IT suppliers.
  • Advancing true interoperability and overcoming barriers such as challenges in patient matching will require ongoing focus. We will continue to work with ONC, CMS, and others to provide education regarding technology and business drivers, and to set realistic but sufficiently ambitious expectations to ensure that proposed standards are mature and timelines achievable.
  • As we await the imminent release of the MU Stage 3/”2017 edition” certification proposed rules, we anticipate a concentrated project to review them in detail. Our feedback will address the specifics of the proposed rules as published and also emphasize the need for a more focused approach to these programs, realistic timelines, and improved certification processes and eCQM deployment.
  • We will continue to engage in conversations with Congress and policy makers about potential health IT safety legislation, regulation, and potential oversight.
  • Our work with provider organizations and industry on usability will also continue, focused on efforts to develop actionable and high impact recommendations for both health IT developers, their customers, and regulators.
  • We will continue to engage with policy efforts to shift provider payment to a more value-based focus, with an emphasis on the central role of EHR-based quality measurement.
  • Recognizing the increasing use of mobile, cloud, emerging standards like HL7 FHIR, and expansion of existing standards including HL7 CCDA and IHE profiles, we will educate our members as we provide them opportunities to engage with their peers through Association workgroup activities that relate to these initiatives.
  • Finally, as an association and as individual companies, we will respond to increased and evolving needs for effective consumer engagement mechanisms.

Along with these challenges for HIT developers in 2015, we also recognize the “perfect storm” for providers of meaningful use, ICD-10, and payment reform efforts, which will accelerate in 2015 and create additional opportunities for policy work and customer support. So, let’s also look forward to a new year, energized by what we’ve accomplished and with renewed enthusiasm for the good and important work ahead of us.

Mark Segal, PhD, EHRA Chair (GE Healthcare IT)

Sarah Corley, MD, EHRA Vice Chair (NextGen Healthcare)

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