New vendor code of conduct for Athenahealth

Responding to the National Coordinator for Health IT's call for vendors to "step up" and agree to a code of conduct, EHR provider Athenahealth has proposed such a code at HIMSS13.

The code encompasses five principles to protect patients, guard against fraud, and empower HIT to finally realize its potential to revolutionize health care, according to an announcement. They are:

  • Empower data portability and provider choice

  • Build a true nationwide information backbone

  • Protect patients

  • Prevent fraud

  • Drive Meaningful Use

"The principles in the Code squarely address some of the central policy issues facing the HIT industry, providing not only a push to move the industry forward, but also a strong signal to our providers and to government that our industry understands its responsibility to proactively address those issues," said Dan Haley, Athenahealth vice president of government affairs, in the announcement.

The company also has set up an online portal where peer vendors, physicians and other stakeholders can sign up in support of the code.

The portal includes more information about the code, such as this statement under portability and choice:

"Our health care providers should have the freedom to choose any EHR at any point without fear of losing data critical to patient care."

And under driving Meaningful Use:

"We will adjust reporting to accommodate government quality reporting programs, at no incremental cost to clients."

Separately, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has appointed Jeremy Delinsky, Athenahealth senior vice president and chief technology officer, to its Health Information Technology Standards Committee, according to a second announcement.

In December, HHS finally responded to a 2011 Institute of Medicine report citing an "urgent need" for a research agenda for safety issues related to electronic medical records technology. Though it did not propose setting up a new agency to monitor HIT safety as the IOM report urged, HHS set out its own plan for doing so in conjunction with other federal agencies.

While generally supporting the plan, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) called for more provider-vendor cooperation when it comes to investigation of patient safety events, as well as usability. The American Hospital Association urged a single, national approach to matching patients with their records.

Meanwhile, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) said that regulating health IT should be the outgrowth of a stakeholder-driven organization including the federal government, but not directly under its control.

To learn more:
- find the announcement
- here's the portal
- check out the second announcement

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