October 1, 2020
Updated: Oct 1
Only What Matters On Health Information Policy
Maverick Health Policy only knows one thing for sure about the first presidential debate: health information policy was not mentioned. The rest of it was a blur, and not a good roller-coaster-thrill-ride-blur -- more of a hold-your-head-in-your-hands-tell-me-when-it’s-over blur. If you need to get the general health care policy takeaways (and there were plenty of those), there are some helpful articles here, here, here, here.
A few items this week:
Rumors of another interoperability deadline delay: ONC declined to comment, but it seems possible that the information blocking and interoperability rule compliance deadlines will be pushed back again to make way for more pressing pandemic concerns. HHS has sent the Office of Management and Budget an interim final rule, so people are guessing that it is another delay.
Trouble with cyberattacks: One of the country’s largest hospital systems, Universal Health Services, was forced to shut down its entire computer network for at least a couple of days, impacting patient data, laboratory systems and clinical information, apparently due to a cyberattack. These unfortunate incidents can cost a company millions of dollars, as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield knows all too well.
HIEs are having a good week: The Colorado and Arizona state health information exchanges, Phoenix-based Health Current and Denver-based CORHIO, will align their organizations to create a regional (and large) patient data exchange process. Arizona’s Health Current was also one of five HIEs that got a CARES Act grant to strengthen their interoperability services so public health agencies can better access, share and use health information during emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
It is a well-known fact that physicians hate the whole regulatory scheme formerly known as the “meaningful use” of electronic health records. It was such a sore spot that the name was changed to “promoting interoperability.” There are so many well-documented reasons why doctors and their staffs hate their electronic health records, but Maverick Health Policy heard early on that these systems were developed without physician input -- so the final product was less helpful and more burdensome to clinicians than intended. If that's true, then this idea is brilliant: bring in doctors to help determine whether office-based physicians are adopting health information technology. HHS awarded a three-year cooperative agreement to the American Board of Family Medicine to measure and gather data about whether doctors are using health information technology -- and to better understand the impact these systems have on them. Read more about the Notice of Funding Opportunity for Tracking Use and Impacts of Health IT on U.S. Office-Based Physicians download here: