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D.C. Report: Meaningful Use Stage 1 Experiences, ONC Announces E-Consent Policies

October 10, 2011
by Sharon Canner, Sr. Director of Advocacy Programs, CHIME
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Sharon CannerSr. Director of Advocacy ProgramsCHIME

Meaningful Use Workgroup Hears About Stage 1 Experience, Looks Towards Stage 3 In a meeting convened by the Health IT Policy Committee’s Meaningful Use Workgroup, more than a dozen participants testified about their experience with Stage 1 Meaningful Use and shared thoughts about how Stage 3 should look. One panel was comprised of providers who met the requirements for Meaningful Use, including two CHIME members: Tom Smith, CIO at NorthShore University Health System, and Denni McColm, CIO at Citizens Memorial Healthcare. They were joined by other health IT leaders in the provider community to answer a set of questions and identify strengths and weaknesses in the Meaningful Use enterprise. A few common themes emerged from the participants’ narrative, including common challenges. All the providers were early attesters, with a few of them attesting in the first month attestation was possible. Most providers agreed with Tom Smith’s sentiment towards the Clinical Quality Measures when he said, “the [Quality Measures] reporting has been quite challenging not only from an internal organizational workflow standpoint, but from discrepancies between CMS standards, The Joint Commission, and contemporary practice. We spent the vast majority of our time on producing reports.”

Denni McColm echoed this view,“CQM’s have been, by far, the biggest challenge in meeting meaningful use. For our perspective as a provider, these measures seem to be 1) premature, 2) non-standard and 3) ‘unowned.’”

McColm elaborated by saying there seemed to be no “data steward” such as the Joint Commission and most of the CQMs had not been endorsed by the National Quality Forum.

But Wednesday and Thursday’s MU Workgroup meeting was predominantly convened, not to look back or to survey the current landscape of Meaningful Use, but to look ahead to Stage 3. The group kicked off the brainstorming by hearing from vendors, government officials and other stakeholders to better understand what practical steps will make the acquisition, analysis, and use of health data more effective and efficient. Participants were candid in their input, making this a particularly useful dialog for informing rule-makers on actual experiences to date.

ONC Sets Sights on E-Consent Policies for Exchange The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) this week announced plans to develop and pilot an electronic patient consent model for the exchange of personal health information. The e-consent trial is expected to explore ways to help patients understand their choices if and when they want their provider to exchange their data and what background information they need to make that decision. ONC expects to develop a graphical user interface for patients to understand the material and follow-up questions and a method, such as electronic signature to capture and record the patient’s choice about sharing health information. According to a statement of work (.pdf) released by ONC, it is working with a vendor who “will collaborate with a clinical setting in which electronic health information is exchanged to test e-consent, gather data and evaluate it.” This partner could be involved in provider-to-provider exchange, a health information exchange, accountable care organization, health IT regional extension center, or Beacon Community participant.

 

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