HIT Policy Committee unveils 2014 draft workplan

The Health IT Policy Committee, at its meeting on Tuesday, revealed its draft workplan for 2014, in addition to discussing draft recommendations for Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use incentive program.

Among immediate Q1 focuses for the committee are discussions around the creation of a technology infrastructure to support accountable care efforts; certification for long-term and post-acute care and behavioral health settings; and tackling privacy and policy concerns pertaining to granting access to patient records to either patients themselves or legal designees. Regarding the latter, in a Health IT Buzz blog post preceding the meeting, HIT Policy Committee Tiger Team co-chairs Deven McGraw and Micky Tripathi made a plea for public comments on potential privacy and policy concerns to be addressed at their next meeting on Monday.

"The Tiger Team is considering whether there are additional privacy and security policy issues that need to be resolved when family or friends access the data," McGraw and Tripathi wrote. "To further inform this discussion, the Tiger Team wants broad input on this subject."

Areas for emphasis for the Meaningful Use Stage 3 draft recommendations shared by the committee's Meaningful Use Workgroup included clinical decision support, patient engagement, care coordination and population management, the latter of which National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo previously said would be a focus of ONC efforts going forward.

The HIT Policy Committee workplan calls for approval of Stage 3 recommendations next month.

Despite the continued push toward Stage 3, several complaints were made to the committee by various health IT community representatives about Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. For instance, American Hospital Association Director of Policy Chantal Worzala pressed the committee about the possibility of more time for eligible hospitals to meet Stage 2. Electronic health record vendor certification issues, she said, have led to lagging hospital compliance with Stage 2 criteria.

This past December, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed a one-year extension of Meaningful Use Stage 2, but the start date of 2014 remained the same. The proposal also called for Stage 3 to be rolled out in 2017, but only for providers who have completed at least two years in Stage 2.

To learn more:
- here's the HIT Policy Committee's draft workplan
- check out the Meaningful Use Workgroup's draft recommendations for Stage 3
- read the Health IT Buzz blog post