Report Identifies Five Key Challenges to Health Information Exchange

The government’s $19 billion investment
in health information technology is a pivotal catalyst in our pursuit
of a smart, fully interconnected health information system.  However,
as we wait for this investment to take root, there are several immediate
issues the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of
the National Coordinator of HIT must address.

In a recent paper for the Federation
of American Hospitals, my Avalere colleagues and I distilled the following
five concrete issues that officials must tackle to ensure we create
an HIT infrastructure that fulfills its promise of improved access,
quality, and value.

    • Know the patients:
      Creating a master patient index and a national patient identification
      system to ensure patient information can be accessed in different settings
    • Set standards: Reaching
      agreement on standards and certification processes for HIT software
      and tools
    • Link EHRs and PHRs:
      Enabling communication between EHRs and personal health records
    • Use the same language:
      Resolving inconsistent use of medical terminology between different
      care settings
    • Harmonize exchange models:
      Harmonizing currently separate models of health information exchange,
      including diverse regional and local efforts

If regulators don’t adequately address
these timely issues, it is possible we could end up with electronic
heath records that can’t talk to each other—a reality that could
be even more costly and less efficient than our current paper-based

The full report is available here.

Rosenfeld, a director at Avalere Health, focuses on health information exchange
(HIE) and policy issues relevant to the adoption and diffusion of health information
technology (HIT).  With more than 10 years of experience in strategic
consulting and policy analysis, Sheera supports a variety of clients on how the
HIT policy landscape and emerging HIE environment may affect their
business.  Sheera’s published
research on HIT includes studies that analyze current payment and financial
incentive models and Medicare’s evolving role in influencing physician
uptake of technology.  She also has a deep understanding of the
progression of state-based HIE initiatives.  Sheera holds a B.S. in
occupational therapy from the University of New England and an M.P.H. from the
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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2 replies »

  1. I think instead of dumping the public option whatif we put a cap into the number of members it accepts at the beginning ,to let us say 30-40 million people, and later down the road 5, 10, etc years if people like it and gets a lot of support can be revisited to be expanded. I believe for right now putting a cap will put the fear the insurance co. have that unfair competion with the gov and losing to many people to the public option to rest.

  2. As a Health IT “insider”, I have been following meetings of both HIT Policy and Standards Committees from the very beginning. My general impression of their accomplishments to date is positive, even though I have different opinions on a few issues, expressed in
    Despite the fact that discussions get chaotic from time to time, the Committees managed to specify“meaningful use” requirements and create a roadmap for their phased implementation, as well as to identify existing standards and needs for new ones. I have little doubt that there will be a framework for EHR certification process relatively soon. The problem is that the supporting infrastructure (Regional Extension Centers, e.g.) seems to be underfunded and lagging behind. And that is where most smaller healthcare providers are supposed to get assistance on deployment of EHR systems. I hope that eventually, the SaaS model for EHR will take away most of the pain from that process.