Sylvia Mathews Burwell: HHS to tackle interoperability woes

The Health and Human Services Department understands healthcare professionals' concerns when it comes to data sharing in the industry, and the agency is focusing on addressing the issue, Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said during an American College of Physicians event this week.

To move to an "open, connected health system," she said, HHS will work to:

  • Create common standards so that health IT systems can be interoperable with one another.
  • Help providers better understand patients' rights to their data and make clear that data blocking "is not tolerated." She added that providers and hospitals both have a role to play in making sure that such practices do not continue.
  • Ensure regulations "reflect that data moving simply and securely throughout the healthcare system is vital for market success."

"We all want a health system where information flows seamlessly and securely when and where you need it most," Burwell said. "Because when you all have the information you need, you can see the whole health picture."

She also said the agency acknowledges the challenges providers face when it comes to the Meaningful Use program.

Just last week. six GOP senators who called for a "reboot" of Meaningful Use in 2013 proposed legislation to "improve" the program, asking HHS for technical assistance on the effort.

To learn more:
- here are Burwell's remarks