Category Archives: Health Information Technology

Advancing Patient-Centeredness and Equity through Technology

The other major health care policy legislation enacted within the past two years is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of the economic stimulus legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The HITECH Act provides up to $30 billion to hospitals, physicians, community health centers and other “eligible providers”. The federal funds will be available through incentive payments paid through Medicare and Medicaid. Hospitals and physicians must demonstrate “meaningful use of certified electronic health records” to qualify for the incentive payments. The Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is overseeing most of the implementation of the HITECH Act, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is overseeing the Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.

I have compiled some key resources on the implementation of the HITECH Act, with a focus on how it might impact safety net health care providers, and patients and health care consumers, especially from underserved communities.

Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology: Vision and Draft Roadmap for Nationwide Interoperability

In June 2014, the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology published this “vision” for nationwide interoperability of health information technology over the next ten years.  The vision paper is still very general (more “guiding principles”, with very broad … Continue reading

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Office of National Coordinator for Health IT Policy and Standards Committees: Response to JASON Report

After the publication of the JASON report, the Policy Committee and the Standards Committee of the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology convened a task force to respond to the report.  In October 2014, this joint task force … Continue reading

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JASON: A Robust Health Data Infrastructure

This report was issued by JASON, an independent group of scientists that periodically advise the federal government on issues of science and technology.   The report was commissioned by the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the … Continue reading

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General Accountability Office: Electronic Health Records – HHS Strategy to Address Information Exchange Challenges Lacks Specific Prioritized Actions and Milestones

This March 2014 report from the General Accountability Office (GAO) is critical of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strategy to support nationwide health information exchange and interoperability.  Among the continuing barriers to health information exchange identified … Continue reading

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Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Principles and Strategy for Accelerating Health Information Exchange

In August 2013, the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published these principles and strategy for accelerating health information exchange.  The strategy document was ONC and CMS’ response … Continue reading

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Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology: 2014 Report to Congress

This is the 2014 report to Congress from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology on the nation’s progress in the adoption of health information technology and related efforts to facilitate the electronic use and exchange … Continue reading

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Office of the National Coordinator: Draft Federal Health IT Strategic Plan

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology has published a draft Federal Health IT Strategic Plan for 2015-2020 for public comment.  Comments must be submitted online and are due by February 6, 2015. There are significant changes … Continue reading

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Final Rule on Patient Access to Lab Results

This final regulation published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in February 2014 clarifies that patients have the right to directly receive their own laboratory results, overcoming rationales that used the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability … Continue reading

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DHHS Office of Civil Rights: Letter on Consumer Right to Access Health Information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights issued this letter in 2013 clarifying the right of health care consumers to view and receive copies of one’s personal health information, both in printed (copies) and electronic … Continue reading

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Blue Shield of California Foundation: Building Better Health Care for Low-Income Californians

“This may yet be the greatest test of our healthcare system – whether we can effectively bring patients into the conversation, instead of leaving the debate to politics, payers, and providers. We hope this report’s findings bring us closer to … Continue reading

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