At the Sept. 9 meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee, Paul Tang, M.D., the committee’s vice chair, introduced a task force’s draft recommendations on interoperability. He called for the federal government and private sector to convene an interoperability summit and for the creation of “HIE-sensitive measures that matter to consumers and patients.”
Tang, who is vice president and chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in California, said the Clinical, Technical, Organizational and Financial Barriers to Interoperability Task Force believes that the market is moving in the right direction, but the pace of change is likely not fast enough to support delivery system reform goals set by Health & Human Services of tying 30 percent of Medicare payments to value-based payment models by the end of 2016, and tying 50 percent of payments to these models by the end of 2018.
Tang said a deliberate multi-stakeholder initiative is required to stimulate sustained collective action and keep the Office of National Coordinator’s Interoperability Roadmap from becoming just another book on a shelf.
“We have the plan, the incentives and the data in electronic form,” he said. “But we need to figure out who needs to do what. We need the power of the federal government to convene it and enduring private sector work to sustain the effort.” He also mentioned that in order to develop coordinated care plans across the continuum, the stakeholders would have to include social services organizations, long-term care providers and others, and would have to extend to medical education settings.
He said that in its draft recommendations, the task force proposes asking the federal government to fund the development of measures that matter. An example of a health information exchange-sensitive measure would be: “no reimbursement for medically unnecessary duplicate orders,” he said. Another example, Tang suggested, could be transparent measures of vendor performance, such as the number of external data elements viewed and the percentage incorporated and the percent of orders changed due to the new information. He said current measure developers tend to create process measures rather than these types of “measures that matter.”
The task force will continue to work on recommendations for the HIT Policy Committee to include in a report to Congress by the end of the year as required by the 2015 Omnibus Bill.