Monday, December 30, 2013

Senate News about Health Information Technology

Some evidence is trickling in that some in Congress are listening, and are as frustrated as the providers, hospitals and patients..

The letter is prefaced by this introduction:

"To begin a discussion of these health IT programs, today we released "REBOOT:Re-examining
the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health it."This white paper outlines our concerns
with current health IT policy, including interoperability, increased costs, potential waste and
abuse, patient privacy, and sustainability."


Senators Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, Richard Burr, Michael Enzi, Pat Roberts and John Tune drafted a letter to the Administration, with these conclusions:

Transformations in health IT will significantly change how health care is provided in this country.
Americans want to search for medical information online, check drug interactions or symptoms with their
smart phones, and e-mail their doctors. Physicians can now access digital records of a patient even if they
are in another city, state, or country. Clinical notes are recorded with increasing speed and ease, and other
transformations offer the promise of increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved quality of care.

However, the details of federal law and regulation may be inadvertently incentivizing unworkable,
incoherent policy goals that ultimately make it difficult to achieve interoperability. Congress, the
administration, and stakeholders must work together to “reboot” the federal electronic health record
incentive program in order to accomplish the goal of creating a system that allows seamless sharing of
electronic health records in a manner that appropriately guards taxpayer dollars. Fulfilling the goal of
increasing efficiency in the health care system; reducing costs for payers, providers, and patients; and
improving quality of care for patients is a challenging task. In order to succeed, the following
implementation deficiencies must be addressed:

 Lack of Clear Path Toward Interoperability
 Increased Costs
 Lack of Oversight
 Patient Privacy at Risk
 Program Sustainability

We present this white paper in an effort to initiate a dialogue with the administration and the stakeholder
community. The purpose of this paper is to foster cooperation between all stakeholders – including
providers, patients, EHR vendor companies, and the Department of Health and Human Services – to
address the issues raised in this white paper, evaluate the return on investment to date, and ensure this program is implemented wisely.

Their analysis appears to be  accurate, pointing out many deficiencies.

To begin a discussion of these health IT programs, today we released "REBOOT:Re-examining 
the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health It."This white paper outlines our concerns
with current health IT policy, including interoperability, increased costs, potential waste and
abuse, patient privacy, and sustainability.

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