The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) certainly didn't pull any punches in its comments on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's updated strategic plan. Unlike some commenters on the plan, who for the most part deferred to ONC, NPCA, known to favor private free market forces rather than government regulation, came out strongly against it.
The pressure is mounting on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to share health records electronically--if only the agencies will take the hint. Not one, but two reports were issued last week decrying that the lack of interoperability is a serious problem for this country.
There's been a flurry of activity in reaction to the cyberattack on Anthem, the largest reported healthcare data breach in history, with information for up to 80 million customers compromised. Several class-action lawsuits already have been filed. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has launched an investigation. People are calling for mandatory encryption of electronic patient protected health information in EHRs and elsewhere. Pundits are claiming that this breach will finally serve as the healthcare industry's wakeup call to better protect patient data, particularly from cyberattacks. Maybe. I'd like it to be. But it won't.
There's been a lot of talk about the struggles providers have had sharing data. For instance, in addition to sharing data with other providers, they also need to meet the view/download/transmit requirements of Stage 2 of Meaningful Use; many have purchased patient portals to meet these requirements. I find it surprising, then, that one detail is receiving relatively little publicity: Evidently, 2014 Edition certified electronic health records already have the ability to share data with patients--if only providers would bother to use it.
Remember the adage, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it?" Well, that appears to be the case again, this time with health information exchanges (HIEs), which are running into some of the same rough waters as the electronic health records before them.
There's a new buzzword in the electronic health record world beginning to gain traction: decertification. So far, only two EHR products, both developed by Santa Fe Springs, California vendor EHRMagic, have had their certification revoked in 2013 for failing to meet the standards of the Meaningful Use program. But now, a number of EHR products may be at risk of decertification, if more momentum builds to decertify those that "proactively" block the sharing of electronic information.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who wants to know what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' vision of Stage 3 of Meaningful Use looks like.
December appears to be the month of the patient portal study.