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Noam Arzt

ONC EHR Reporting Program RFI: A Public Health Perspective

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ONC EHR Reporting Program RFI: A Public Health Perspective

On August 24, 2018, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a Request for Information (RFI) related to the EHR Reporting Program. Th ...

On August 24, 2018, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a Request for Information (RFI) related to the EHR Reporting Program. This RFI is required by the 21st Century Cures Act and its primary purpose is to gather ideas and suggestions related to how ONC might provide better information about Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT).

Apparently, the initial intention was to create a “star rating” like the type used in Consumer Reports to use to rate EHRs, but that seems to have been abandoned in favor of some kind of measurement system. But it is far from clear exactly how this would be done. There may be something to learn from the Immunization Information System (IIS) community: with guidance from the CDC, the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) initiated a process to help assess compliance of IIS with national functional standards through a formal measurement and improvement initiative. “Validation,” rather than “certification” or “compliance,” is the carefully-chosen term to signify a system meeting the designated measures through formal testing. The process is interactive, and the results are only made public with the agreement of the IIS program. Perhaps some of the concepts and processes in this initiative can be useful for the EHR Reporting Program.

Frankly, there is not much of interest in here for public health, which is not in the business of worrying about CEHRT. Of course, the quality and functionality of EHR products does impact their effectiveness in supporting interoperability with public health registries. To that end, the RFI does as some questions towards the end (p. 42918) about additional information that might be useful for prospective purchasers of CEHRT, including “Submitting, editing, and retrieving data from registries, such as clinician-led clinical data registries.”

ONC asks for how they might prioritize including information related to this in EHR Reporting as well as data sources for reporting about this. It may be useful for public health to weigh in on these questions; comments are due no later than 5 p.m. on October 17, 2018 at the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

CMS MIPS PI NPRM: A Public Health Perspective

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CMS MIPS PI NPRM: A Public Health Perspective

See my HIMSS blog and our formal comments on this NPRM! Well, here we go again. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now released a new Notice o ...

See my HIMSS blog and our formal comments on this NPRM!

Well, here we go again.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now released a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), titled Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2019; Medicare Shared Savings Program Requirements; Quality Payment Program; and Medicaid Promoting Interoperability ProgramThe purpose of this NPRM is to address proposed changes for Year 3 of MIPS, the provider (as opposed to hospital) side of the Quality Payment Program. The part that is most relevant to public health is the Medicaid Promoting Interoperability (PI) Program for Eligible Professionals (EP)” (the EHR Incentive Programs have been renamed). A major goal of this NPRM is to synchronize as much as possible the EP program with the hospital-based program that was addressed in a previous NPRM  just a few months ago.

PHI2018 Conference: eCR Rules!

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PHI2018 Conference: eCR Rules!

On August 20-23, 2018 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) sponsored the now-biennial Publ ...

On August 20-23, 2018 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) sponsored the now-biennial Public Health Informatics Conference in Atlanta, GA. Nearly 1,000 public health informatics professionals, vendors, and other stakeholders came together to discuss and learn from each other about new and emerging trends in informatics practice, successful (and less than successful) projects and strategies, and new or existing products to help in their work. The conference exhibit space included a mini-Interoperability Showcase co-sponsored by HIMSS that demonstrated ten interoperability use cases relevant to public health and their data partners in the clinical community.

AIRA 2018: Is Open Source the Key to IIS Sustainability?

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AIRA 2018: Is Open Source the Key to IIS Sustainability?

On August 14-16, 2018 the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) held its 2018 National Meeting. This meeting brought together more than 350 informatics professional ...

Noam Arzt and Bill Brand engage in a “fireside chat”

On August 14-16, 2018 the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) held its 2018 National Meeting. This meeting brought together more than 350 informatics professionals, public health officials, EHR vendors, and other stakeholders who all care passionately about Immunization Information Systems (IIS) and their role in the healthcare community. IIS projects leverage interoperability with EHRs, PHRs, and other systems to promote clinical practice at the point of care; enable public health surveillance; and reduce cost by assisting in preventing both under and over immunization.

CMS IPPS Final Rule: A Public Health Perspective

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CMS IPPS Final Rule: A Public Health Perspective

On August 2, 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2019 Inpatient Prospective Payment System Final Rule to Quality Payment Program. We earlier rele ...

On August 2, 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2019 Inpatient Prospective Payment System Final Rule to Quality Payment Program. We earlier released thoughts on the Proposed Rule as well as our formal comments.

The Final Rule affirmed most of CMS’ proposed changes, with some notable exceptions:

  • Required public health measures were reduced from three (Stage 3 requirement) to just two, but Syndromic Surveillance will not be a requirement for hospitals covered under the rule.
  • While CMS continued to be unclear about its plans for the removal of public health measures altogether for CY2022 and beyond, they did express some openness to consider continuing public health measures and to study the issue over the next few years.

It is clear from the comments discussed in the final rule that comments submitted supporting public health requirements were received, noted, and had a positive impact on the final rule. Kudos to public health advocates for their strong voice!