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Congressional Committee Hearing Discusses Health Data Sharing

June 26, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee recently hosted a roundtable discussion with various healthcare IT advocates on industry regulation and innovation in regards to health data sharing.

The discussion, as reported byThe Hill, was the second from the committee on these issues and featured Anne Wojcicki, CEO and Co-Founder of 23andMe, a genomics company; Martin Harris, M.D., CIO of the Cleveland Clinic; Jonathan Bush, CEO and President of the Watertown, Mass.-based EHR vendor, Athenahealth; Sean Hogan, vice president of healthcare for IBM; and other health IT innovation advocates. The leaders lobbied for a situation where electronic medical record (EMR) companies would offer a fee to physician’s offices for transferring patient records. They also asked for improved cloud computing and investments in more federal medical research on data sharing.

Currently, Bush told lawmakers there is no business case for health data interoperability. He said the government has created "a culture of wanton and random regulations." Overall, the health IT advocates argued that patient data sharing would turn the healthcare system into undergoes practice-based evidence and not evidence-based practice.

From the lawmakers perspective, there are concerns over whether sharing patient data will have negative privacy implications. "Congress has been snooping and leaking any information for political gain ... You take the same thing and you transfer it to medicine, how much more scary is that?" Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said during the committee hearing, according to The Hill.

The advocates also talked about how engaging patients with their own health data improves the practice of medicine. According to FierceHealthIT, Dr. Harris at the Cleveland Clinic said at his organization, engaged consumers drive the model and take responsibility for their own health.

Read the source article at TheHill

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