HIT Newser: A Meaningful Sigh of Relief

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ONC Issues Draft HIT Interoperability Road Map

The ONC releases a draft of its 10-year nationwide interoperability road map, which includes a focus on helping the majority of providers across the care continuum and consumers achieve basic interoperability of health data over the next three years. The ONC also released a draft of its Interoperability Standards Advisory, which includes an assessment of the best available standards and implementation specifications for clinical health information interoperability.

Public comment for the draft Roadmap closes April 3, 2015; comment period for the Standards Advisory closes May 1, 2015.

Meaningful Use Reporting Relief         

CMS proposes rule changes for the EHR incentive program, including a reduction in the 2015 reporting period from one year to 90 days. An additional change would re-align the reporting period to match the calendar year, giving hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition software into their workflows and better align with other CMS quality objectives. CMS will consider additional program modifications to reduce complexity and lessen providers’ reporting burdens.

CMS noted that the proposed rule changes are separate from the upcoming Stage 3 proposed rule that should be be released in March that is expected to limit the scope of the Stage 3 requirements for MU in 2017 and beyond.

Providers, vendors, and professional organizations are breathing a collective sigh of relief over the CMS announcement.  The proposed changes aren’t too surprising, given low Stage 2 attestation numbers and overwhelming provider dissatisfaction with the MU program.

New Valued-based Payment Goals to Drive HIT Adoption

HHS sets a goal for 30 percent of Medicare payments to be link to value-based performance through alternative payment models, such as ACOs, by 2016 and 50 percent by 2018. In addition, HS wants 85 percent of traditional Medicare payments tied to quality by 2016 and 90 percent 2018.

Achieving those objectives will require technology that supports quality-based payments versus the traditional fee-for-service model, so both vendors and providers will need to make aggressive moves to deploy the appropriate tracking and reporting tools. No doubt this will be one of the hotter topics at the HIMSS conference in April.

ONC Names New CMO

The ONC announces the appointment of Thomas Mason, MD as the agency’s chief medical officer, replacing the recently departed Jacob Reider. Mason most recently served as CMIO of Chicago’s Cook County Health and Hospitals System and oversaw the implementation of and outpatient EHR for 16 primary health care centers and 110 specialty clinics.

The ONC has been on quite the hiring spree in the last few weeks, as the agency works to replace the slew of staffers who had left over the last year. Apparently the ONC folks decided it was time to hush all those “the ONC is dead” rumors.

Wheeling and Dealing

  • University Medical Center Health System in Lubbock, TX agrees to a 10-year extension of its contract to align the EHR and clinical IT teams at UMC, Texas Tech Physicians, and UMC Physicians Network Services.
  • North Carolina’s Southeaster Health selects eClinicalWorks Care Coordinator Medical Record for population health.
  • Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics is Wisconsin was slated to go live on Epic February 1.

Show Me the Money

  • Business consulting firm Huron Consulting Group agrees to pay $325 million to acquire Studer Group, a healthcare performance improvement firm.
  • Cerner completes its $1.3 billion acquisition of Siemens Health Services’ assets, client relationships, and associates.
  • Surescripts agrees to spin off its CareManager population health business. The new company will be run by Luis Machuca and the current Krptiq management team and will retain the name Kryptiq. Surescripts acquired the Krptiq subsidiary in 2012.

New Blood        

  • DR Systems names co-founder Murray Reicher, MD as the company’s CEO, replacing the retiring Rick Porritt.


  • The ONC Annual Meeting takes place February 2-3 in Washington DC and is expected to attract over 1,000 HIT partners. Portions of the event will also be webcasted.

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