Thursday, October 22, 2015

Senate Committee Developing Legislation To Fix EHR Issues - iHealthBeat

Transitional Chaos or Enduring Harm? The EHR and the Disruption of Medicine



Most clinicians have few good things to say about the current status of electronic medical records.  The goals are high, but obtainable.


The U.S. Senate is now investigating solutions which are actionable.  It is a late response, however any and all assistance is gratefully received.  Perhaps an earlier response would have missed many important issues in regard to EHRs.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is developing legislation to address electronic health record-related issues identified by stakeholders during a series of six hearings this year,National Journal reports (Roubein, National Journal, 10/21).

With this in mind, readers should contact their appropriate representatives and committee members regarding your own observations.

During one of the hearings in April, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that he and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the HELP committee, established a bipartisan working group to identify problems with EHRs that can be addressed through administrative or legislative action (iHealthBeat, 4/24).  

Legislation Priorities

Alexander has said the committee has been working with the Obama administration "diligently for months to develop seven areas of agreement for legislation to actually achieve interoperability."
According to National Journal, those priorities include:
  • Bolstering standards;
  • Ensuring that the EHR certification system does what is intended to;
  • Improving access to EHRs for all members of a health care team;
  • Improving patient access to their medical records;
  • Limiting "physician documentation";
  • Preventing information blocking; and
  • Strengthening the security and privacy of EHRs.
Other Potential Priorities
Meanwhile, Murray has said that other priorities should include developing a system for providers to shop for and compare EHR systems.
Earlier this month, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)introduced legislation to address such an issue (National Journal, 10/21). Specifically, the Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology -- or TRUST IT -- Act of 2015, would require the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to develop a rating system for health IT products to measure their performance on:
  • Interoperability;
  • Security; and
  • Usability (iHealthBeat, 10/8). Emphasis by author
Unfortunately Usability is last on the list of 'potential priorities.  Most clinicians, in my experience, would place this as a first, not a potential priorities.  That is an understatement.



http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2015/10/22/senate-committee-developing-legislation-to-fix-ehr-issue

 Senate Committee Developing Legislation To Fix EHR Issues - iHealthBeat

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