HIT Policy Committee Votes To Recommend Meaningful Use Stage 2 Delay. During this week’s meeting of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC) members representing physicians, hospitals, consumers and vendors agreed on timing and criteria recommendations for Stage 2 of the Electronic Health Records Incentive Payment Program. As previously highlighted in CHIME’s Advocacy Corner, HITPC members considered whether to delay Stage 2 by one year, thus allowing eligible professionals and hospitals until 2014 to meet Stage 2 expectations. A majority of the HIT Policy Committee voted in favor of this timeline, with some representatives dissenting because the delay was not needed, while others said it was not enough. Alongside this broad discussion of timing was an equally important conversation about “menu” and “core” criteria. As agreed to by HITPC, all items listed as menu in Stage 1 will become core in Stage 2.
Another area of debate involved the newly envisioned concept of a “Summary of Care Plan,” which would subsume objectives for a summary of care record, a care team member list, a care plan and a transmission criteria to act as a preamble for an HIE objective in Stage 3. After being put to a vote, HITPC will recommend that those components remain separate and that (1) the Stage 1 criteria for summary of care records remain at 50 percent for EPs and EHs; (2) 10 percent of those summary of care records contain fields for a care plan; (3) a list of care team members exists for 10 percent of patients and (4) 10 percent of all discharges have a summary of care record sent electronically to an EP or post-acute care facility.
These recommendations will join others submitted by the HIT Standards Committee before going to ONC head Farzad Mostashari, M.D. and finally on to CMS. A notice of proposed rulemaking is expected from CMS towards the end of this year with a final regulation on Stage 2 to be issued in June 2012.
Data 'Palooza' Beckons Innovation In Healthcare. A gathering of federal health officials and data gurus marked the 2nd annual Health Data Forum this Thursday in Washington. The theme of this year’s “data palooza” was innovation. Since the passage of HITECH, the healthcare system has generated massive amounts of data. To help organize and leverage this data dump, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Institute of Medicine launched a public private partnership called the Health Data Initiative. On hand Thursday was HHS CTO Todd Park, IOM President Harvey Fineberg, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra and numerous private sector innovators such as Tim O’Reilly, of O’Reilly Media fame. During his keynote speech, HHS’s Todd Park said that “a combination of historic polices, such as the Affordable Care Act, HITECH Act, Open Government Directive, and Strategy for American Innovation are contributing to an environment of unprecedented opportunity for innovators.”
HHS has been publicizing their data through challenges, code-a-thons, and many sessions with innovators of all stripes – startups, major businesses, nonprofits, public health, health care delivery system professionals, federal and local government, and academia. During the forum, nearly a dozen major new initiatives were announced using federally supplied health data. Among them were the public and private sponsorship of new “ challenges” to develop data-powered solutions that help improve health, including challenges issued by Walgreen’s Pharmacy, Aetna Foundation, Sanofi-Aventis, and the National Cancer Institute. Additionally, ONC announced today the Investing in Innovations (i2) Initiative—a $5 million program to fund projects supporting innovations in research and encouraging health IT development through open-innovation mechanisms like prizes and challenges. Some examples of health IT competition topics include applications that allow an individual to securely and effectively share health information with members of his or her social network; applications that allow individuals to connect during natural disasters and other periods of emergency; and tools that facilitate exchange of health information while allowing individuals to customize the privacy allowances for their personal health records.
New House Group To Focus on Tech Policy And Innovation. The House Republican High Tech Working Group, recently renamed House Republican Technology Working Group, announced its primary agenda items for the 112th Congress. Topping the list were spectrum allocation for mobile broadband, cyber security and H1B visas. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who chairs the group, said “House Republicans are committed to creating an environment where the technology sector can flourish.” The working group has been formally endorsed by House Speaker John Boehner who said this group “will play a critical role in promoting policies that help keep America at the forefront of innovation and unleash the drive and entrepreneurship of our people." As a major component of the technology sector, CHIME will continue to make sure that health IT and related issues facing our members are well represented and understood by this and other technology-focused groups on Capitol Hill.