Friday, August 03, 2012

In Case You Thought The US Was Slackening The Pace in E-Health Here Is What Is Going On!

The following appeared recently.
Monday, July 16, 2012

Federal Gov't Continues With Health IT Activity in Q2 2012

The federal government continued to implement the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, during the second quarter of 2012. Below is a summary of key developments and milestones achieved between April 1and June 30. 
The second quarter of 2012 saw a number of important developments:
  • ONC Seeks Public Comment on NwHIN Governance RFI. On May 15, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released a request for information soliciting feedback from the public on options for governance of the Nationwide Health Information Network. ONC defines NwHIN as a set of standards, services and policies that enable secure health information exchange over the Internet. ONC included in the RFI a number of proposed "rules of the road" to govern NwHIN; the centerpiece of the proposal is a voluntary program under which entities that enable electronic health information exchange could be validated (i.e., formally recognized) for meeting ONC-established "conditions for trusted exchange." Comments on the RFI were originally due June 14, but the deadline was extended to June 29. 
  • ONC Creates Two New Offices. On May 16, ONC announced the creation of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and the Office of Consumer eHealth. The Office of the Chief Medical Officer will address health IT issues relating to safety, usability, clinical decision support, meaningful use policy development and quality. The Office of Consumer eHealth will continue ONC's work to engage patients and families in their health, including overseeing ONC's pledge program, a nationwide campaign to encourage health care providers to make it easier for individuals and their caregivers to have electronic access to their health information.
  • ONC Releases Health IT Dashboard. On May 9, ONC launched a website highlighting national progress toward the nation's health IT adoption goals. ONC strategy, information on health IT grant programs and data from regional extension centers are examples of the information available to the public through the new website.
Health IT Policy & Standards Committees
Health IT Policy and Standards Committees Submit Comments on Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Proposed Rules and NwHIN Governance RFI
During the second quarter of 2012, the Health IT Policy Committee and Health IT Standards Committee were largely focused on developing comments on the Stage 2 meaningful use and electronic health record standards and certification criteria proposed rules and on the NwHIN Governance RFI. The Policy Committee's various work groups also began work on Stage 3 meaningful use criteria during the month of June.
EHR Certification
ONC Releases Updated Certified Health IT Product List
On June 26, ONC released version 2.1 of the Certified Health IT Product List, which lists all the EHRs and EHR modules that have been certified by ONC's Temporary Certification Program. Version 2.1 lists 1,700 EHRs and EHR modules approved for meaningful use.
If you are not already tired there is lots more here:
And here is an earlier quarterly report.
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Federal Health IT Activity Continues in First Quarter of 2012

During the first quarter of 2012, the federal government continued to implement the HITECH Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The first quarter of 2012 saw the following high-level developments:
  • HHS Released Proposed Rules on Stage 2 Meaningful Use and EHR Certification Criteria -- On Feb. 23, CMS released a proposed rule setting forth the requirements that health care providers must meet to achieve meaningful use of certified electronic health records under Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. On Feb. 24, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released a companion proposed rule related to the associated standards and certification criteria for EHRs.
  • White House Selected Todd Park as New Chief Technology Officer -- On March 9, the White House announced that President Obama had selected Todd Park as the new U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Park previously served as CTO of HHS.
Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs
CMS Released Incentive Program Provider Participation Data
In March, CMS released February data highlighting health care provider participation and incentive payment totals since the EHR Incentive Program launched in January 2011. According to CMS, over 211,500 total eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) had registered for the Medicare and/or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Over 62,000 EPs, EHs and CAHs had been paid a total of more than $3.8 billion for successfully participating in the programs.
EHR Usability
NIST Released EHR Usability Evaluation Protocol
On March 20, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released guidance for evaluating, testing and validating the usability of EHRs. According to NIST, the proposed usability protocol "encourages a user-centered approach to the development of EHR systems" and "provides methods to measure and address critical errors in user performance before those systems are deployed in a medical setting." On Feb. 14, NIST also published a notice in the Federal Register seeking vendors to supply EHR systems for NIST to use to develop a framework for assessing the usability of health IT systems and performance-oriented user interface design guidelines for EHRs. Interested vendors were required to submit a request and Letter of Understanding by March 15.
Health Information Exchange
ONC Published Article on HIE Strategy
On March 28, ONC leaders published a Health Affairs article outlining the federal government's strategy for advancing health information exchange. The article discusses the federal government's progress to date in establishing the "essential building blocks" for health data exchange. It also describes ONC's plans to "develop additional policies and standards that will make information exchange easier and cheaper and facilitate its use on a broader scale."
ONC Released CONNECT 3.3
On March 16, ONC released version 3.3 of CONNECT, which is open-source software that supports health information exchange and relies on Nationwide Health Information Network standards. The new CONNECT version includes additional features, performance improvements, maintenance fixes and software updates. Of note, CONNECT 3.3 complies with NwHIN specifications approved in July 2011 and creates backwards compatibility between the January 2010 and July 2011 specifications and among CONNECT versions. 
Vastly more details and links are here:
Reading this I have to say I just feel tired. The pressure is really on to make this all work and it can only benefit us all in the long run.

1 comment:

Tom Bowden said...

It interests me that the US focuses on standards and interconnection frameworks, so as to encourage people throughout the sector to connect their systems to one anothers' whereas some other countries send vast amounts of money building infrastructures and hoping they will be used.

I wonder which approach is most likely to achieve sustainable progress?

Tom Bowden