AAFP Calling on CMS to Make Improvements to MyHealthEData Initiative | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

AAFP Calling on CMS to Make Improvements to MyHealthEData Initiative

March 27, 2018
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

In a letter to Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) voiced it support of the MyHealthEData initiative, but also called for some improvements to certain aspects of the fledgling patient data initiative.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma, M.P.H., publicly unveiled the MyHealthEData Initiative on March 6 during a speech at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference in Las Vegas.

During her speech, Verma said the initiative is designed to empower patients around a common aim - giving every American control of their medical data. “MyHealthEData will help to break down the barriers that prevent patients from having electronic access and true control of their own health records from the device or application of their choice. Patients will be able to choose the provider that best meets their needs and then give that provider secure access to their data, leading to greater competition and reducing costs,” Verma said.

According to CMS, the initiative is headed up by the White House Office of American Innovation with active participation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CMS, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Verma also announced an update to the agency's Blue Button initiative, calling the new Blue Button 2.0, a developer-friendly, standards-based application programming interface “that enables Medicare beneficiaries to connect their claims data to secure applications, services and research programs that they trust.”

The AAFP states that it supports certain portions of the new initiative; however, “other key points raised eyebrows among Academy leaders.”

In a March 14 letter to Verma, signed by AAFP Board Chair John Meigs, M.D., of Centreville, Ala., the organization weighed in on important portions of the initiative during its formative stages to ensure the final program doesn't create more obstacles to already overburdened family physicians. The AAFP noted its approval of agency efforts that "encourage patients to have meaningful control of their data" and to improve interoperability and administrative simplification."

According to the AAFP, to achieve improved, secure patient access, actual interoperability of electronic health care records is first required, something practicing physicians were promised when they purchased and updated their systems to Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT). However, many systems do not meet this standard, the association noted.

“Lack of this promised interoperability leaves physicians beholden to EHR vendors—a situation that has allowed vendors to engage in price gouging when peddling software upgrades and maintenance,” AAFP stated. “We strongly urge CMS to require EHR vendors to provide any new government-required updates to such systems without additional cost to the medical practice.”

Multiple studies have shown that physicians spend far too much time—up to 50 percent of their workday and even after clinic hours—using their EHRs, said the AAFP. “CMS must take the time and financial costs physicians endure into account while addressing improved patient access to health care data,” the AAFP stated in the letter.

In her speech, Verma zeroed in on CMS' intent to prevent providers and hospitals from blocking patients—and their physicians—from seeing personal health data. In response, the AAFP noted in its letter to Verma that too often physicians receive summaries of care that are too long and “filled with clinically irrelevant information.” Indeed, said the letter, unnecessary information often is inserted into summaries by automated processes “designed to ensure compliance with CMS regulations and requirements for the MU (meaningful use) and ACI (advancing care information) programs.”

The AAFP is urging CM to improve its regulatory requirements and focus on “how and when data is exchanged rather than focusing on the data in the exchange.”

Furthermore, the AAFP called on CMS to use the authority it was granted in the 21st Century Cures Act to penalize health care organizations that are not sharing information. “Policies should be focused on penalizing bad actors blocking information,” the AAFP stated in its letter.

The AAFP addressed additional points in its letter to CMS, including suggestions related to:

  • streamlining requirements associated with meaningful use and the Quality Payment Program's advancing care information component;
  • interoperability of quality measures, including elimination of all health IT utilization measures and implementation by all payers of the Core Quality Measures Collaborative's core measures sets championed by the AAFP;
  • widescale interoperability of patient admission, discharge and transfer data in as close to real time as possible; and
  • reducing hospital admissions and readmissions, and duplicative testing.

“With the modifications we have suggested and attention to other overarching health care IT issues as outlined above, we believe these programs will lead to great success for our patients by catalyzing better, more efficient quality care,” AAFP stated in the letter.

 

 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Report: Advanced Hacker Group, Orangeworm, Targeting Healthcare Industry

A new attack group, dubbed Orangeworm, is conducting targeted cyber attacks against healthcare organizations in the United States, Europe and Asia, according to a new report from researchers at cybersecurity firm Symantec.

EHR Capabilities Impact Patient Satisfaction Levels, Report Finds

Electronic health record (EHR) technology and the ways that providers use it to communicate with their colleagues and with patients is affecting how satisfied consumers are with their hospital organizations, according to a new Black Book market research.

A New Massachusetts Study Finds Consumers Slow to Make Use of Cost Estimate Tools

A new report has found that, even as health insurers in Massachusetts, under pressure to provide cost-estimating tools for their members, are giving them more information, plan members are still largely not taking advantage of new tools

Seven PA Health Systems Partnering on Healthy Food Access Pilot

Seven health systems in the Philadelphia are are partnering with community organizations, public health departments and insurers on a Healthy Food Access Pilot aimed at addressing food insecurity in the region.

Independence Health, Comcast to Partner on Healthcare Technology Platform

Independence Health Group, parent of Independence Blue Cross, and Comcast announced a partnership to launch a patient-centered technology and communications platform that seeks to improve the overall efficiency and experience of the care delivery process between providers and patients.

Health IT Trade Groups Push CMS for MIPS 90-Day Reporting Period

MGMA, AMA and 47 other physician organizations have sent a letter to CMS, calling for the federal agency to reduce the burden of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) by shortening the quality data reporting period from 365 to 90 days.