Interoperability Plan Underwhelms, Mostashari Resigns: Now What?

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , August 13, 2013

The RECs are doing fine work, and it's all well and good for CMS and ONC to want to extend support for their work in the hopes of moving health IT interoperability forward and provide necessary training, but that will require Congress to act to extend that funding.


Russell Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME

You had to be pretty technical, and dig down deep into the 14-page document, to find anything that really impressed. I did find this:

ONC, through the HHS Entrepreneurs Program, is developing targeted, open source toolkits ("Health Information Service Provider [HISP]-in-a-box and Admission, Discharge, and Transfer [ADT]-Alerts-in-a-box") that can be rapidly and cost-effectively deployed by a wide range of health care entities including those that are not eligible for the EHR Incentive Programs (e.g., SNFs, surgery centers, and home health agencies).

Still, it was hard not to feel a sense of dashed expectations from this, the major work product of ONC's year of health information exchange.

Searching for insight or perhaps some encouraging words, I spoke last week with Russell Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

"I'll give kudos that they're addressing these concerns," Branzell told me. "The right people are listening. We went into meaningful use pretty quickly during a period of economic turmoil in the country, probably without the homework we should have done on the front end of what this might look like.

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3 comments on "Interoperability Plan Underwhelms, Mostashari Resigns: Now What?"

FLPoggio (8/14/2013 at 11:25 AM)
Underwhelming and a clamity? You bet!. And consider this, here we are almost twelve months from when the first drafts of the 2014 Edition Certification testing (previously known as Stage 2) was issued and all we see are six vendors with fully certified EHRs. Meanwhile all inpatient Stage 1 certifications will terminate as of 9/30/13. As of today major players like Siemens, GE, and Cerner are NOT certified for a full EHR. On the smaller end of the market we are missing; Healthland, QuadraMed and NTT Data (Keane). As I have said on this blog before, the process and details under 2014 are far more difficult than ONC would admit, and as noted earlier the test scripts are still changing. In fact while working through some test data with several of my clients this week we came across three situations where the test data was in error. When we brought this to the attention of the test labs they simply said, "We'll notify ONC, but for now just ignore it".

Michael Matthews (8/14/2013 at 10:03 AM)
While this article speaks to many of the remaining challenges to interoperability, there is a glaring omission of the progress and growth of eHealth Exchange (formerly known as Nationwide Helath Information Network Exchange). In just the past 12 months, eHEX has grown to over 40 participants; has over 100 more in the onboarding queue; has redesigned the testing and onboarding process to become more scalable and efficient; and has engaged HealtheWay to support operations and testing. In addition to private sector engagement, eHEX provides critical access to Federal agencies such as the VA, DoD and SSA. The road ahead will certainly require continued dedication, vision and hard work, but let's pause for a moment to recognize how far we've come and the roadmap that exists for the future. Michael Matthews, Chair HealtheWay Board Immediate Past Chair of eHEX Coordinating Committee

Bobby Gladd (8/13/2013 at 7:21 PM)
"Extend Regional Extension Center (REC) support" How? With NO funding? The RECs are effectively done. I know they recently touted that, but it's an utterly empty proposal, a PR platitude. One presentation topic at the last ONC Annual Conference in DC was "The Grant Closure Process" for RECs.




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