IPPS: Ambiguous Measures Won’t Reduce Burden

By Sasha TerMaat
Co-Chair, EHRA Executive Committee

man holding three white medication pills

The final 2019 IPPS rule included changes to the Promoting Interoperability/ Meaningful Use program beginning January 1, 2019. Disappointingly, with only six weeks between the close of the public comment period for the proposed rule in late June and the publication of the final rule in early August, CMS’ rushed process and failure to fully consider stakeholder comments (including EHRA’s) led to a rule filled with measures that will be unworkable, inefficient, and onerous.

In a previous blog we delved into PDMP query as just one of the measures where EHR developers anticipate challenges. In that case it’s due to differing levels of PDMP integration with CEHRT and inconsistent references within the rule about whether the query needs to be made via CEHRT, along with other areas in which the measure is ambiguous.  

In this blog post, let’s look at the reasons we’re concerned about a different measure, this one related to opioid treatment agreements.

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Why HHS Needs a Privacy Leader and a Cybersecurity Leader

By Nam Nguyen and Sayee Balaji Chandrasekaran, Chair and Vice Chair, EHRA Privacy & Security Workgroup

_Security and Privacy are not the same. A Security leader_s primary concern is protecting and securing data. A Privacy leader_s primary concern is who can access certain data and whaCyber-threats are all over the news, including attempts to hack elections, steal corporate trade secrets, and hold medical records for ransom. Phishing is rampant, and is the way most hackers ultimately get into secure systems. The U.S. government has, of course, taken notice, and is taking action on several fronts.

One of those fronts is healthcare, with the release by HHS of the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force’s “Report on Improving Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry,” which was delivered to Congress in June 2017.  The task force wrote, “Our nation must find a way to prevent our patients from being forced to choose between connectivity and security.”

EHRA welcomes this report, which we view as a path forward for increasing security in the healthcare sector.  The report directly aligns with two of EHRA’s privacy and security positions: (more…)

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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Reflections on EHRA, Past and Future

By Mark Segal, PhD, FHIMSS

Mark Segal Morocco

Mark Segal welcomed ‘retirement’ by exploring Morocco with his son.

Late in 2017, I left GE Healthcare via an early “retirement” opportunity. Retirement is in quotes but that is a story for another day; suffice it to say that I intend to remain active in the digital health policy world.

One of the biggest changes with my departure from GE is that I also left the EHRA Executive Committee, on which I had served in both elected and ex officio capacity for years. This was a double whammy of many fewer conference calls per day.

My involvement with EHRA, wearing many hats, has been one of the most important and satisfying aspects of my professional life. (more…)

FDA Health IT Guidance Is A Good Start, But More Clarity Is Needed

By Shari Medina, MD

This month, the FDA issued long-awaited guidelines EHR tablet graphicon the agency’s implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act in regards to Clinical Decision Support and the FDA’s intent to exercise enforcement discretion for many types of patient-facing software, mobile applications, and software which have not obtained ONC certification.
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Improving EHR Usability by Reducing Regulatory Burdens

it is our experience that clinicians_ frustrations with EHRs are often less about the technology, and more about using it not simply for patient care but to fulfill regulation-driven dIn a speech last month, CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressed her desire for CMS “to focus on patients first.” To do this, she said, “one of our top priorities is to ease regulatory burden that is destroying the doctor-patient relationship. We want doctors to be able to deliver the best quality care to their patients.”

We applaud Administrator Verma for leading this effort to reduce regulatory burdens on healthcare providers. As regulatory requirements for data collection from clinicians directly through the EHR have increased, it has become increasingly more challenging to maintain focus on the data essential to direct patient care. (more…)