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Health IT Group Wants Better Interoperability for Stage 2 Meaningful Use
Health IT Now!, a coalition that promotes the use of health information technology, has asked the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to revise current stage 2 meaningful use criteria with the purpose of strengthening interoperability among EHR software. The coalition, which is made up of about 60 healthcare-related organizations, is a firm believer in using health IT to lower provider costs and improve patient care.
On May 7, the group filed comments on the proposed stage 2 meaningful use rules, suggesting changes that could potentially enhance interoperability, reduce health costs, and improve patient outcomes. While Health IT Now! commended ONC and CMS for their efforts regarding interoperability and information exchange, the group’s executive director, Joel White, has said that strengthening stage 2 standards is necessary in order to ensure that more useful tools are available to providers. “You cannot coordinate care effectively and efficiently without systems that talk to each other,” said White. “Those who say we cannot do better are really saying we can settle for a lower bar. Considering the challenges we face in health care, this is not acceptable.”
The coalition is also putting up a fight against EHR software vendors looking to block information exchange, by urging ONC and CMS to decertify them. “There are some in the marketplace that proactively block information exchange from one system to another,” said White. "They want to capture market share and have a monopoly on information exchange…It is really undermining the program and we think it should end.”
The full letters to ONC and CMS are available on HealthITNow.org. To see if the coalition’s requests were answered, keep an eye out for the final stage 2 meaningful use guidelines which are expected to be released this summer.