DirectTrust outlines health IT uncertainties in 2017

2017 Calendar
A year of uncertainty for Health information technologies lies ahead says DirectTrust CEO. Credit: Getty/amnacphoto

Uncertainty is the only given that 2017 will bring for health information technology, according to a new report from DirectTrust.

The organization, an alliance of participants in the Direct Exchange network for health information exchange, pointed to five health IT trends to watch in 2017, with a focus on the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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Republican promises to repeal ACA will fuel that uncertainty, especially if months of debate and controversy ensue without a replacement plan, writes president and CEO David C. Kibbe, MD.

“This could possibly lead to a number of months of inaction that might feel like paralysis, including failures to invest in health IT infrastructure and innovation,” he says.

Groups that represent hundreds of thousands of physicians are urging Congress not to increase the number of uninsured people as it moves ahead with plans to repeal the ACA.

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In the short term, however, he foresees little change. Both the private sector and federal government will continue to support the use of health IT to improve care coordination and manage patient populations through better collection and data use

Value-based payment and risk-sharing arrangements that involve EHRs will gradually gain momentum, but with a diminishing role for regulatory oversight. Strong bipartisan support for MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) will drive value-based payment reforms for Medicare and Medicaid incorporating health IT, with less emphasis on the adoption of technology for its own sake.

However, the private sector will be left to figure out how to best use the emerging health IT infrastructure, he says, although ONC oversight will not be eliminated completely.