By Blair Childs, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) final rules move us closer to the reality of a more dynamic, competitive and innovative healthcare IT ecosystem.
The most critical lever to drive nationwide data exchange and data access is the development and adoption of additional open data and interoperability standards. Premier applauds the ONC final rule’s identification of Health Level 7® (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR) as the foundational standard to support data exchange. This will give patients greater access to their health information through application programming interfaces (APIs) and help enable providers to seamlessly and securely access and exchange data across care silos. We thank the administration for acknowledging in the final rules the need for patients to have access to their data and for recognizing that providers should be able to choose health information technology, without excessive costs or technical barriers, as both are critical to the success of healthcare transformation. With open APIs and standards providers can better implement tools such as predictive analytics, clinical decision support and clinical surveillance to deliver value-based care.
The final rules make significant progress in addressing the economic incentives that impede health IT market competition. We are encouraged that the final ONC rule requires EHR vendors to be more transparent in their business practices, attest that they will not engage in “information blocking,” and successfully test the real-world use of interoperable technology in the type of setting where it would be marketed. We hope the Administration continues to advance policies to enhance public reporting and visibility of EHR’s performance, especially around usability, patient safety, standards implementation and interoperability.
Premier has continuing concerns, however, that the final rule does not require third-party applications to ensure the same level of privacy and security of patients’ data as is required by providers and other HIPAA-covered entities. We are also disappointed that the CMS rule does not go further in reducing certain provider burdens, especially related to new ADT Conditions of Participation requirements and the accelerated implementation timeframe for providers.
We look forward to working with the Administration to implement and improve upon these critical policies to help drive and accelerate a new reality in which data is unlocked from EHRs and integrated into clinical workflows.
Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of more than 4,000 U.S. hospitals and health systems and approximately 250,000 other providers and organizations to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and consulting and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit Premier’s news and investor sites on www.premierinc.com; as well as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Premier’s blog for more information about the company.