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…)

Briefing Congress on the Importance of Interoperability

On June 7, 2016, the EHR Association sponsored a briefing for Congressional staff engaged in crafting proposed legislation that addresses interoperability.  EHRA member company, Allscripts, invited their client Stephen Nuckolls, CEO of Coastal Carolina Health Care (New Bern, North Carolina, U.S.A.), to participate as a panelist, along with four other healthcare provider organization executives. Their blog post shares some of his comments at the briefing, which covered successes and areas for improvement with health information technology.

EHRA Responds to ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap

After many conference calls, and lots of “on the job training” using Google Docs to manage the edits of many contributors, we were pleased to submit our response to ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap. . . just in time to start working on the interoperability aspects of the proposed rule for Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Program . . .and to get ready for HIMSS15!

Overall, we’re positive about the framework the draft Roadmap is starting to put in place, its identified principles, and the pragmatic review of well-established and emerging interoperability standards and technologies. We did express some concern that ONC seems to view the many active, and increasingly successful, interoperability initiatives as a problem to be solved rather than work to inform go-forward strategies with valuable experiences to be built upon. In doing so, we provided some positive suggestions on how to approach interoperability governance in ways that rely on and leverage private sector efforts in the context of an effective public/private partnership.

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