HIMSS18: Listening, Learning, Leading

IMG_6591EHRA member companies were out in force at HIMSS18 in Las Vegas, and not just in booths on the exhibit floor.

In a small conference room on the 4th floor of the Sands Convention Center, EHRA volunteer executives were meeting with stakeholder groups to discuss how EHRs can be optimized to improve usability, interoperability, and patient safety. We listened, we asked questions, and we shared our perspectives on the challenges and what the next steps could be.

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Draft TEFCA Needs A Lot More Work

TEFCASince the release of the Draft Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) on January 5th, EHRA volunteers from the Standards and Interoperability, Privacy and Security, and Public Policy Leadership Workgroups have been reviewing and discussing the document. Together, they drafted EHRA’s comments, which were submitted this week to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

As EHR developers, we support the goal to provide nationwide interoperability using networks as important building blocks, and believe TEFCA has the potential to dramatically improve interoperability.

However, the draft TEFCA overreaches, neglects important details, and doesn’t consider the practicality or potential unintended consequences of the policy. We strongly recommend that ONC review stakeholder feedback and publish a revised proposed draft for another round of feedback, before finalizing the policy.

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Celebrating the Value of EHRs During National Health IT Week

National Health IT Week 2017

Today begins National Health IT Week, a nationwide awareness week focused on the value of health IT.  EHRA is honored to be a National Health IT Week Partner, and proud of the contributions that EHRs make every day toward improved patient care in the U.S.

Recently, the advantages of EHRs were in the spotlight in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. Headlines like “Electronic Health Records Rise Above Harvey’s Floodwaters” and “EHRs at Houston hospitals remain resilient against Hurricane Harvey” lead into stories about how EHRs contribute to effective continuing care in disasters. (more…)

Interoperability is Already Having Positive Effects – Here’s How

By Hans Buitendijk

For healthcare providers and their patients, interoperability holds the promise to substantially improve quality and reduce costs, while enabling coordination of care and engagement of patients with their caregivers.

We know that this work is well underway, and so EHRA members collected real-world examples of where interoperability is already working, and the positive effects that many organizations are achieving today.

We’re pleased to share our report, “Interoperability Success Stories: The Journey Continues,” which demonstrates how interoperability can lead to:

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To Improve Patient Access to Data, Providers and Developers Need Clarity on Regulatory Requirements, Not a Focus on Compliance and Penalties

By the EHR Association Executive Committee

Recently, a blog post appeared on the Health Affairs website* painting a gloomy picture of patient access to their electronic health information and suggesting a new theory on how HIPAA can be used to accelerate expansion of interoperability.HA blog quote

Disappointingly, this timely blog post makes inflammatory and inaccurate assertions about EHR vendors, regulatory requirements, and progress made toward interoperable health records.  It also seemingly advocates for a “gotcha” system of penalizing potential missteps by providers and developers, which is the wrong approach to encouraging information sharing.

EHR developers provide tools to help our customers care for patients and increase these patients’ access to their health information. The assertion that individuals “struggle to get their information out of EHRs in an electronic format” overstates the situation and does not reflect progress made.  Although the extent of exchange is not yet where the healthcare industry collectively would like it to be, interoperability is growing quickly between providers, as well as between providers and patients.

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Interoperability Framework Should Build Upon Existing Technology

This week, EHRA submitted comments to ONC regarding the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement implementation.

You can read EHRA’s recommendations here.  Our comments focus primarily on: (more…)