Health IT (information technology) is the area of IT involving the design, development, creation, use and maintenance of information systems for the healthcare industry. Automated and interoperable healthcare information systems are expected to lower costs, improve efficiency and reduce error, while also providing better consumer care and service.

CMS Encourages Home Health Agencies To Adopt Health IT

CMS issued a proposed rule for the 2016 Medicare home health prospective payment system that encourages home health agencies to accelerate their adoption of health IT, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 7/8).

Details of Proposed Rule

According to AHA News, the proposed rule would reduce home health payments by 1.8% from 2015 levels (AHA News, 7/6). The proposal also would impose a value-based purchasing model on all Medicare-certified home health agencies in nine states as part of a pilot program.

In addition, the proposal would:

  • Enforce a 1.72 percentage point cut in calendar year 2016 and CY 2017 to the standardized 60-day episode payment rate (Health Data Management, 7/8); and
  • Establish the third year of a four-year "rebasing" of the standardized 60-day home care episode rate in an effort to recover overpayments (Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 7/7).

Health IT Implications

Citing the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's interoperability roadmap and the draft 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory, CMS in its proposed rule encourages home health agencies to use electronic health records and health information exchange (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 7/7).

CMS notes that doing so would result in greater success for the organizations, adding that "effective adoption and use of health information exchange and health IT tools will be essential as these settings seek to improve quality and lower costs through initiatives such as value-based purchasing."

The agency adds, "As adoption of certified health IT increases and interoperability standards continue to mature, HHS will seek to reinforce standards through relevant policies and programs" (Health Data Management, 7/8).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Personalization of Patient Portals : a way to achieve engagement and true meaningful use

In the proposed rule for Meaningful Use Stage 3 the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has made significant changes to the patient engagement recommendations that are causing controversy amongst EHR vendors, Doctors, and the media. These recommendations include three measures of engagement, and providers would have to report on all three of them, but successfully meet thresholds on only two.

Some claim that these requirements are too burdensome, and that they may not be achievable giving what is achievable in the marketplace today.

Patient Engagement, Usability, and Meaningful Use Stage 3

Patient Engagement

Patient engagement was a very hot topic at the recent HIMSS conference in Chicago. There was no shortage of exhibitors promoting their patient engagement tools and there were also several presentations that contained suggestions for better engaging patients. Some exhibitors that we spoke to were not aware of the proposed patient engagement rules (described below) and were very excited at the prospect of greater use of their tools.

Interoperability, Usability, and the ONC 2015 Edition Certification

"Satisfaction and usability ratings for certified electronic health records (EHRs) have decreased since 2010 among clinicians across a range of indicators.”

This announcement was made 5 years ago the 2013 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition by Michael S. Barr, MD, MBA, FACP.