A Gaggle of Health IT Reports


On the 6th Day of our 12 Days of Christmas Posts, we turn our attention to a gaggle of reports that made health IT news in the latter part of the year. Three of the reports listed are from the ONC, focusing on the current and future landscape of health IT technology.

The ONC announced the release of its Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, 2015-2020. The plan updates the goals of the 2011 initiative.As it maps out ways to better gather, share and put to use interoperable health data, the plan will serve as a broad federal strategy. That roadmap will help to define the implementation of how the federal government can work with the private sector to spur more widespread sharing of health data to improve individual healthcare, drive better community and public health and advance research.

The ONC  released results of a two year survey gauging issues of privacy and security of personal health information. The survey looked to measure how patients regarded privacy concerns with increased adoption of EHRs, health information exchange and other health IT technologies, polling 2,000 US residents in 2012 and 2013. Results of the survey show a majority of patients want their providers to use EHRs despite concerns. Discussing the survey results at the HIT Policy Committee meeting that day, ONC Senior Adviser Vaishali Patel said, “In spite of the fact that a majority of Americans expressed concerns regarding the privacy and security of both their medical records and with sharing of their medical records, support for EHRs and electronic health information exchange remained consistently strong.” You can view the meeting notes and listen to the audio of that meeting.

The latest data brief issued by the ONC shows the need to share patient information with other providers and the use of financial incentives are key drivers in why many providers adopt and use health information technology tools including EHRs. The new data brief details why physicians decided to adopt – or not adopt –EHRs, and it helps to explain how financial incentives drive EHR adoption. The data demonstrates the importance of incentive programs like the HITECH Act and payments for services that include use of certified EHR technology, such as the separately billable Chronic Care Management services finalized under the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.Along with the data brief, the  ONC posted a new tool on the HealthIT.gov dashboard to help clinicians estimate the amount of money they might receive from treating Medicare patients living with chronic conditions, while using their certified health information technology.

The eHealth Initiative is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit affiliated organization. Its mission is to drive improvement in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. Last month the Initiative released its initial 2020 Roadmap for transforming the health care industry through data exchange and health IT. The 2020 Roadmap Identifies the top 3 priorities as: Interoperability, Clinical Motivators and Incentives and  Data Access and Use. The report also details eHealth Initiative’s vision for each priority for laying out recommendations for short-term goals, mid-term goals, long-term goals, and Federal policy change priorities. You can register to download the roadmap.

The ECRI institute publishes an annual list of Top 10 Health Technology Hazards going into the New Year.  The annual list highlights the technology safety topics the Institute feels warrants particular attention for the coming year. Included on the list is incorrect or missing data in EHRs and other health IT systems. Cybersecurity also makes the list.  The 2015 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards report is a complimentary download.

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), released its findings from a August 2014 ICD-10 Industry Readiness Survey. WEDI has been conducting ICD-10 readiness surveys since 2009. The surveys measure industry progress and help identify where providers may be struggling with compliance. According to WEDI, this year’s survey “used an abridged set of questions aimed mostly at status rather than approaches to compliance, and survey questions paralleled those in prior surveys to facilitate direct comparison.” Survey results show progress towards ICD-10 compliance has lagged, and particularly among the smaller provider groups. The full survey results are contained in WEDI’s September 19 letter to HHS.