Join Us Tomorrow for a Joint Hearing on Health Information Exchange

Claudia Williams and Kory Mertz | January 28, 2013

Tomorrow, January 29, 2013, the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee and HIT Standards Committee will hold a joint hearing to:

  • Provide an update on health information exchange activity across the nation,
  • Assess the exchange needs of providers as they take on new payment models, and
  • Discuss additional steps ONC can take to accelerate and reduce the cost of health information exchange for providers and patients across organizational and vendor boundaries.

The hearing will take place at the Dupont Circle Hotel External Links Disclaimer, located at 1500 New Hampshire Avenue N.W., in Washington D.C.

We invite everyone to join via webcast.

Our Topic: Health Information Exchange and Meaningful Use

As Stage 2 of Meaningful Use is implemented, providers will have to demonstrate, and vendors will have to support, the actual exchange of clinical care summaries with other providers—including across vendor boundaries—and with patients using certified electronic health records (EHRs).

The information will be structured and coded, allowing the receiving provider to understand and use the information for patient care, and to incorporate it into the EHR. This same coded information will also be shared with patients, enabling an ecosystem of business and technology innovation that can help patients:

  • Improve their care coordination,
  • Better manage their health finances, and
  • Make critical health decisions with better information.

In the words of our boss, Farzad Mostashari, this is a giant leap in data exchange!

Key Payment Changes Create a Business Case for Health Information Exchange

Key payment changes – from Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to bundled payments to readmission penalties – are creating a strong business case for health information exchange. We are seeing growth in regional and state-level health information exchange, powered by the State Health Information Exchange program; deployment of exchange capabilities by hospitals that need to reduce re-admissions; and exchange services offered by national networks and EHR vendors. A shift is afoot.

We have transitioned from focusing on health information exchange the “noun” to enabling exchange the “verb” by encouraging multiple organizations, models and organizations to advance standards-based exchange tailored to the needs of providers and patients.

New Standards Allow Providers to Coordinate Care via Health Information Exchange

To meet providers’ care coordination needs, new standards and policy building blocks are being bundled into an array of products and services including:

  • Query functionality,
  • Alerts when patients are seen in the Emergency Department, and
  • Results delivery.

Simultaneously,implementers and vendors are grappling with how to “co-innovate” workflow changes and technology to provide information when it is needed and guide better decisions about patient care.

The future has never looked brighter for health information exchange. But there is a lot of work to do to reduce the cost of exchange and increase trust so that information flows to support patient care.

We Need You to Join the Conversation

Please join the HIT Policy Committee and HIT Standards Committee in person External Links Disclaimer or on the web and take a moment to share your thoughts on the key questions panelists will address in the hearing by posting a comment.

During the hearing there will be 4 panels:

1.      Health Information Exchange Enabling Healthcare Transformation

  • What specific exchange functions have you deployed to support accountable care (ACOs, medical homes, other improvement initiatives)? Why did you prioritize these services?
  • What measurable or observable impact have you seen on health care quality, cost and improved process? What services have had the biggest impact? Lessons learned?

2. Technical and Business Barriers to Interoperability and Exchange and Opportunities

  • What additional steps can be taken to increase interoperability and information exchange across vendors and providers? What business practices by providers and vendors are currently blocking health information following patients to support patient care? What can be done to address cultural and economic disincentives for HIE that result in “data lock-in”?
  • Which of the following new payment models are having the greatest impact on incentivizing health information exchange: hospital readmission penalties, value based purchasing, bundled payments, ACOs, Medicare Advantage, or patient-centered medical homes? Are they providing the business case for providers to exchange across organizational boundaries?

3.      Governance Barriers and Opportunities for Health Information Exchange

  • What are the key near-term challenges and opportunities to create a trusted environment for securely sharing health information across providers, vendors and HIOs/HISPs?
  • ONC wishes to encourage health information exchange governance entities to come together to identify common solutions to common problems
    • What deliverables and goals should the group have?
    • What issues should the group focus on?
    • What other considerations are critical for the success of such an activity?

4. Consumer-Mediated Health Information Exchange

  • What would it mean for patients to be an “HIE of one” (e.g., patients can access, aggregate and share their own information)? How would this help in care coordination? What would it require?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges to enable this kind of consumer-mediated exchange in the next two years?

We look forward to hearing your input and hope you can join us tomorrow as we work toward our goal of ensuring information can flow to support patient care across disparate vendor systems, health care organizations, and geographic boundaries.