Upgrading and expanding health information technology is a top priority everywhere from hospitals to insurance plans, and a recent speech by the new HHS secretary indicates the Trump administration is on board as well. I saw Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price speak at Health Datapalooza, and Price said the administration is committed to the free flow of electronic health-care data.
Price said the administration intends to give physicians incentives to implement and use HIT and make it easier for health systems to exchange electronic health records with each other, a concept referred to as interoperability.
The continued rise of HIT is critical to democratizing medicine, Price said, allowing all patients to have full access to their medical records. However, Price did touch on some of the burdens HIT implementation can impose on physicians, and said the administration would work to reduce them.
HIT should make capturing patient data easy for physicians, not a burden on their time, Price said.
Price was joined at the Washington-based conference by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), who reiterated the importance of giving patients access to their medical data. Burgess said mobile apps are continuously being developed that can help patients manage myriad medical issues, making patient access to data even more important.
Burgess said he’s hopeful that recent legislation, including the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 and 2016's 21st Century Cures Act, will help push health care toward full data interoperability. MACRA includes interoperability metrics that providers must meet to receive payments under value-based payment models, while the Cures Act adds new penalties for blocking the sharing of electronic information.
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