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All Things HIT

Sep 23 2012   9:11PM GMT

Thoughts in motion towards connectivity

Posted by: AllinHIT
blue button, HITECH, iEHR, NwHIN, ONC

I believe CMS/ONC deserves credit for being flexible and listening to stakeholder’s concerns, regardless of criticisms associated with programs birthed from HITECH, including MU rules and future proposed rules. Time and again fluidity has been shown, whether it’s MU requirements, or ICD-10 deadlines. The ONC announced the “rules of the road” regulations for the nationwide health information network (NwHIN), will be dropped (I believe “suspended” is more likely!). The community felt these rules were a barrier to adoption when they were announced in May, so it just took 5 months for them to reconsider. Vendors, state HIEs, and others will be more inclined to connect due to the demise of these regulations, increasing PHI’s portability.

I read the “support VA’s Blue Button speech” given by Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national health IT coordinator, during HealthIT week. He makes a great case! ┬áThe Blue Button Initiative, created by the Veterans Administration, has more than 1 million veterans participating, creating a noticeable trove of PHI. The number of Blue Buttons participants will steadily increase, especially after the iEHR integration project between the VA’s and Department of Defense.

Finally, technology vendors are also jumping on the bandwagon towards connectivity. Epic and Surescripts’ recent announcement of connecting Epic Everywhere to Surescripts Network for Clinical Interoperability, is a perfect example of connectivity. Epic has over 150 million patient records, representing 44% of the population! This announcement will have a huge effect on access and portability due to Epic’s standing as one of the fastest growing EHR vendors post-HITECH. I have also read that some health plans are considering their own “Blue Button”.

CMS and vendor efforts are vibrant due to stage 2 meaningful use rules. Health IT benefits will snowball the sooner we move towards collaborative health and data informatics/analytics. After all, we know separate silos are unacceptable. Soon, I hope and pray, these public/private efforts will provide true connectivity instead of being just a thought in motion.



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