Health IT Now Coalition Encourages CMS, ONC to Strengthen Meaningful Use Standards

Advocates for policies that support interoperability for electronic health records systems

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Health IT Now Coalition encouraged the Department of Health and Human Services to revise its Meaningful Use standards to promote robust interoperability and adoption of electronic health records (EHR) technology in comments filed last night with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology.

In its comments, the Coalition commended CMS and ONC for taking steps to facilitate interoperability and information exchange, but suggested that standards for the Meaningful Use program can and should be strengthened to enhance and make more attractive the tools providers need to dramatically improve quality and outcomes, while reducing overall costs.

“Without a common set of mature, consensus-based standards that take into account both those who are adopting EHR technology for the first time as well as those that have been using EHR systems for decades, providers will not be able to effectively serve their patient populations,” said Joel White, executive director of the Health IT Now Coalition. “Interoperability is critical in this regard. You cannot coordinate care effectively and efficiently without systems that talk to each other. Those who say we cannot do better are really saying we can settle for a lower bar. Considering the challenges we face in health care, this is not acceptable.”

The Coalition outlines suggested modifications it believes will enhance interoperability and capitalize on the legislative intent of the program: improving patient outcomes and lowering health costs. Recommendations include:

  • Adopting more robust interoperability standards, including allowing Meaningful Users to attest using exchange standards that are backwards compatible to the Direct Protocol;
  • Ending information exchange blocking;
  • Promoting greater patient engagement;
  • Coordinating standards across Medicare and Medicaid to facilitate care coordination and clinical exchange;
  • Identifying a core set of data elements for use in every summary of care record to better meet the needs of patient populations; and
  • Aligning standards across programs to facilitate care coordination and clinical exchange.

The full comments to both agencies are available on the Health IT Now Coalition website.

To schedule an interview with Health IT Now Coalition executive director Joel White, contact Lindsay Murphy at (202) 715-7853.

Health IT Now is a coalition of 65 patient, provider, employer and payer organizations that support the rapid adoption and use of heath information technology (health IT) to improve care, lower costs and enhance patient safety. Health IT will benefit patients and health care consumers while supporting health practitioners to make smart decisions about patient care while saving money. For more information, visit


Health IT Now Coalition
Lindsay Murphy, 202-715-7853

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