Coalition: Meaningful Use Stage 3 Must Focus on Care Disparities

Last week the Consumer Partnership for eHealth — a coalition of more than 50 consumer, patient and labor groups — published an action plan aimed at ensuring that Stage 3 of the meaningful use program focuses on health care disparities, Healthcare IT News reports.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

The Consumer Partnership for eHealth submitted the plan to the Health IT Policy Committee, requesting that the committee review and act on the action plan’s recommendations.

Details of the Plan

The coalition’s action plan is based on a year-long review of scientific literature and collaboration with experts on disparities and health IT.

The plan focuses on:

  • Data collection and use to identify disparities;
  • Language;
  • Literacy;
  • Communication;
  • Care coordination; and
  • Planning.

According to the plan, data collection and use can help doctors and hospitals identify and reduce health and health care disparities.

The action plan recommends:

  • Transitioning to more thorough HHS-designed data collection standards;
  • Increasing use of patient data collected and shared through mobile health applications; and
  • Ensuring that electronic health information is effectively communicated to patients.

In addition, the Consumer Partnership for eHealth recommends that EHRs have the capability to list patients’ specific conditions by variables such as:

  • Disability status;
  • Ethnicity;
  • Gender identity;
  • Language;
  • Race;
  • Sexual orientation; and
  • Socio-economic status (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 8/27).
Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, August 28, 2013