GAO: HHS Needs More Specific Strategy Around HIE | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

GAO: HHS Needs More Specific Strategy Around HIE

March 26, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) strategy surrounding health information exchange (HIE) is not specific enough for stakeholders to take action, according to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

The report from the GAO looked at the challenges to the electronic exchange of health information, if any, that have been reported by providers and stakeholders. The organization conducted interviews in four states with ongoing HIE efforts. The main challenges cited were insufficient standards, concerns surrounding privacy, patient matching, and costs associated with the exchange.

In the report, GAO notes that officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) cited programs designed to address those challenges. Despite this, the stakeholders reproted to GAO that challenges continue to persist and it's unclear whether efforts will lead to widespread improvements in HIE.

The government has designed a strategy document, in August 2013, on how it expects to advance electronic health information exchange. However, GAO says that it’s not specific enough in terms of what “should be prioritized, what milestones the actions need to achieve, or when these milestones need to be accomplished.”

 “GAO recommends that CMS and ONC (1) develop and prioritize specific actions that HHS will take consistent with the principles in HHS's strategy to advance health information exchange, and (2) develop milestones with time frames for the actions to better gauge progress toward advancing exchange, with appropriate adjustments over time,” the agency wrote in the report.

The agency notes that this is especially important because Stage 3 of meaningful use focuses on improving outcomes and will begin this year. HHS, including ONC and CMS, concurred with GAO on those recommendations.



HHS OIG Report Cites Concerns with MACRA Implementation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General issued a report of its review of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) management of the Quality Payment Program and cited specific concerns regarding the need for more specialized technical assistance for clinicians and program integrity efforts.

Cerner Files Protest over $62M EHR Contract Awarded to Epic

Cerner Corp. has filed a protest against rival EHR vendor Epic Systems following an “unfair bidding process and a possible conflict of interest” for a recent IT implementation contract awarded by the University of Illinois (UI) medical center.

NewYork-Presbyterian, Walgreens Partner on Telemedicine Initiative

NewYork-Presbyterian and Walgreens are collaborating to bring expanded access to NewYork-Presbyterian’s healthcare through new telemedicine services, the two organizations announced this week.

ONC Releases Patient Demographic Data Quality Framework

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) developed a framework to help health systems, large practices, health information exchanges and payers to improve their patient demographic data quality.

AMIA, Pew Urge Congress to Ensure ONC has Funding to Implement Cures Provisions

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) have sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to ensure that ONC has adequate funding to implement certain 21st Century Cures Act provisions.

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.