Andy Slavitt echoes CMS IT message for rural health leaders

In looking back at the past year and what's in store for the year to come, Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, in a speech this week to the National Rural Health Association, focused on many areas of the health industry, including the promising role of technology.

"This year, starting in the physician's office, the bipartisan MACRA legislation offers us the opportunity to step back from Meaningful Use and to move toward a better system," Slavitt said. "We will be putting out details over the next several months, but there are several themes which inform our approach specific to technology."

Some of those themes include:

  • Rewarding providers not for just using tech, but for the outcomes they achieve through implementation of new tools.
  • Creating tools that help, and not hinder, physicians. "Providers should be able to customize their own goals so tech companies can build around the individual practice needs, not the needs of the government," he said.
  • Requiring open APIs and allowing EHRs to support apps and other tools to help level "the technology playing field" for new companies.

Another IT-centered project he said is in the works is the Frontier Community Health Integration Project. The initiative, coming this summer, will help to find ways to use telemedicine and other care models to improve care in geographically isolated areas.

"We are at early stages. And we need to work for it by staying close to the realities on the ground and adapt and create new generations of solutions; we need to simplify things more aggressively; and we must commit to a clear, urgent agenda on behalf of the American public," Slavitt concluded. 

To learn more:
- here's the speech text