Senators propose bill to create health IT rating system

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have introduced a bill to help ensure that certified health IT systems work as promised.

Under the legislation, the Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology (TRUST IT) Act of 2015, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT would be required to set up a rating system and publish results on its website of product performance in three areas: security, usability and interoperability.

These published ratings would help bring transparency to the health IT market and enable consumers to compare different products based on performance, Cassidy (pictured right) and Whitehouse said in an announcement.

The bill also calls for an open and transparent stakeholder input process in creating the rating system, and for a process to collect and verify confidential feedback from healthcare providers, patients and others on their experience with the products.

In addition, vendors would have to provide information on user practices that may inhibit interoperability. They also would be required to report on the performance of their health IT products every two years with fines assessed--and some products decertified--for those who do not report.

The bill also calls for the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate claims of information blocking and levy penalties as necessary.

The Health IT Now Coalition said in a statement it was "cautiously optimistic" the rating system would help improve interoperability.

Cassidy, a physician, and Whitehouse have been actively pressing the ONC on barriers to interoperability and potential solutions.

In addition, just yesterday HHS issued the long-awaited final rules changing the requirements of the Meaningful Use program for 2015-2017 and implementing Stage 3 of the program. The agency also this week released the final version of its interoperability roadmap. 

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- check out the bill (.pdf)
- here's Health IT Now's statement