New Additions to the Health IT Playbook

Thomas A. Mason | January 21, 2020

Today, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is releasing an updated version the Health IT Playbook, a tool to help clinical practices reduce the burden of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and make the most of their health IT investment. The Playbook is an intuitive, easy to navigate, web-based resource designed particularly to help solo and small to medium-sized physician practices with adopting, optimizing, upgrading, or changing EHR systems. It is a mixture of helpful health IT tools and resources or “plays” for clinicians and practice staff that combines practical, technical, and workflow assistance.

Reducing Burden

HHS was directed by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act to investigate clinician burden relative to the use of health IT. ONC worked closely with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and sought public comment to create a report to Congress outlining draft goals, recommendations and Strategies on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burdens Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs. The Playbook has a new section focused on Reducing Health IT Burden, which highlights this report and its findings.

APIs and Apps

The Playbook also has information and a new interactive module that can help clinicians understand how application programming interfaces (APIs) will transform our interaction with EHR data and support improved health information exchange and interoperability. APIs are the technical foundation of “apps” that will allow physicians and patients to access health information on their smartphones.

Security Risk Assessment

Another important new update includes ONC’s and the HHS Office for Civil Rights’ recently updated Security Risk Assessment Tool to help healthcare providers comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Security Rule. The updated version was released in October 2018 to make it easier to use and apply more broadly to the risks of the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of health information.

Ultimately, the Playbook is designed to offer strategies to help reduce the pain and maximize the potential of implementing and using health IT. We hope that these resources will help practices resolve key issues with health IT implementation and use challenges.

The Playbook is not intended to be a static resource. It was developed with input from other HHS agencies, physicians, and professional societies, such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association. And we will continue to frequently revise, update, and expand it. Input from the user community is extremely important, so please share your feedback via the health IT feedback form.