This week, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a list of the top nine issues physicians should follow closely in 2016 and a number of health IT issues, namely data security and telemedicine, made the list.
Medicare reform and the electronic health record (EHR) Meaningful Use program topped the list. “The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under development is intended to streamline the various reporting programs for physicians, and alternative payment models (APM) will support physicians in adopting new models of care. Shaping the MIPS so that it fixes the problems of the current system and is beneficial for both physicians and patients will be at the heart of Medicare reform efforts in the coming year,” the AMA wrote in a release.
The AMA said it would continue its work on this front, including a task force of physicians who already drafted and delivered to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 10 principles to guide the foundation of the MIPS.
Regarding the MU EHR program, which the organization called a “burdensome regulatory program,” the AMA highlighted its work through a grassroots campaign called Break the Red Tape, which it began last year, calling for a reset of the meaningful use Stage 3 final rule.
Health data security and telemedicine were ranked No. 8 and 9, respectively. AMA stated that cyberattacks on health data are expected to increase this year.
“With such private information so vulnerable to attack, appropriate protections for sharing and data storage must be a focal point for health IT. The AMA is working with the federal government to ensure better protections for health information,” the AMA wrote.
And, AMA said telemedicine will see more widespread use in the upcoming year, citing its intention to advance the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact of the Federation of State Medical Boards, which facilitates state licensure for telemedicine.
“The AMA also will advocate for the removal of arbitrary barriers to telemedicine coverage under Medicare and promote AMA model state telemedicine legislation,” the organization said.
Other issues to make the Top 9 Issues list include insurance mergers, provider networks and balance billing, prescription drug abuse and addiction, graduate medical education funding and student debt relief and prescription drug costs.