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More Stage 2 Comments, Patient Engagement Initiative Praised

May 8, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Along with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the American Hospital Association (AHA), and the American Medical Association (AMA), the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) have submitted its comments on the proposed rule of Stage 2 of Meaningful Use to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

CCHIT’s Karen M. Bell, M.D., said the group appreciated emphasis on interoperability, patient engagement, and flexibility with respect to product composition. “It has always been CCHIT’s intent and belief that certification programs should be designed to ‘raise the bar’ with each iteration and we are pleased to see that ONC also is moving in that direction,” she said in a statement.

CCHIT’s comments are available at http://www.cchit.org/about/comments-testimony.

RWJF said it is also encouraged by efforts in the proposed rule regarding patient and consumer engagement. However, it said it thinks desirable physician behaviors should be required more frequently—and quickly—than the proposed rule calls for. For example, in its comment letter, RWJF suggests that electronic clinical summaries should be provided to patients within 24 hours for more than 50 percent of office visits, and further suggests that hospitals provide downloadable summaries within 36 hours of discharge. 

This is in sharp contrast to the AHA, which called for a 30-day window in which providers have to provide this type of information to the patients.

Additionally in its formal comment letter, RWJF offers several specific recommendations in support of Population and public health, quality measurement and reporting, and interoperability. The Foundation also cites its efforts in programs like Aligning Forces for Qualitywhere communities are using HIT to demonstrably improve quality through measurement and reporting, and Project HealthDesignand OpenNotes, which are on the front lines of patient engagement in their clinical information.

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