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Washington Debrief: Uptick in Providers and Hospitals Swapping EHR Systems in 2014

September 14, 2015
by Leslie Kriegstein, Interim Vice President of Public Policy, CHIME
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Federal Affairs

Uptick in Providers and Hospitals Swapping EHR Systems in 2014

Key Takeaway: According to data released last week by the Office of the National Coordinator, more eligible hospitals and physicians replaced their electronic health record (EHR) systems in 2014 than any other previous year.

Why It Matters: While the overall percentage remains low of complete system overhauls, the data, presented to the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) illustrates a developing trend of eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) opting to replace pieces or their EHR systems. Approximately 8 percent of EPs swapped systems in 2014, up from 2 percent the previous year, while 4 percent of EHs chose new systems in 2014, up from zero in 2013.

According to the ONC data, nearly 20 percent of EHs and 18 percent EPs that chose to employ the meaningful use flexibility rule actually had 2014 edition certified technology already in place. Sixty-seven percent of EHs and 63 percent of EPs chose to update products from the same EHR vendors.

Further, 16 percent of providers either replaced their entire EHR system or at least some part of it, up from 5 percent in 2013, while 40 percent of hospitals either replaced their all or part of their EHR system.

Leslie Kriegstein

ONC Announces New Chief Nursing Officer

Key Takeaway: Last week ONC announced Rebecca Freeman as the agency's chief nursing officer, filling the nearly year-long vacancy.

Why It Matters: The former hospital executive, Rebecca Freeman, will lead ONC outreach to nursing groups in her role as chief nursing officer.

She will fill the role vacated by long-time Chief Nursing Officer Judy Murphy, who stepped down from the post in November 2014 to join IBM Healthcare. Before joining the ONC, Freeman was assistant vice president of the Hospital Corporation of America.

Congressional Affairs

HELP Committee Announces Patient Access Focused Health IT Hearing

Key Takeaway: Congressional interest in health IT continues, as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee announced a patient-focused hearing scheduled for this Wednesday.

Why It Matters: Patient engagement and patient access to health data has been a well-known challenge for the provider community. The Senate HELP Committee, which has considered a number of health IT and EHR-related issues since March, set for this Wednesday a hearing that will focus on patient engagement.

The hearing entitled, “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Improving Care Through Patient Access to Their Records,” will feature three witnesses:

•  Raj Ratwani, Ph.D., scientific director, National Center For Human Factors In Healthcare, MedStar Health; assistant professor of emergency medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington , DC

•  Kathy Giusti, MBA, founder and executive chairman, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Norwalk, CT

•  Eric Dishman, Intel Fellow, general manager for health and life sciences, Intel Corporation, Hillsboro , OR

The committee is expected to hold another hearing on health IT later this fall which could include officials from the Administration.