The ongoing shift to value-based care has widened the gap between the regulatory demands on providers and the existing capabilities of health IT systems. Informatics experts say access to data is the key to closing that chasm.
Despite progress in pushing health systems into the digital age, health IT systems are still not designed to “support a transition to value-based care,” according to a new policy paper released by the American Medical Informatics Association. The authors unveiled the policy recommendations during a briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
The update outlines ongoing policy recommendations for patients, providers and researchers that revolve largely around improving access to healthcare data for all three groups and establishing more robust standards for IT systems and applications.
The recommendations include:
- Patients: AMIA advocated for greater patient control over healthcare data that would promote better engagement and integrate outside data sources generated by mHealth devices. Specifically, the organization called for adjustments to current HIPAA regulations that clarify the right to obtain a digital copy of their medical record and extend privacy regulations to noncovered entities.
- Providers: More robust oversight is required to ensure application program interfaces (APIs) adhere to industry standards and include core data elements. AMIA also called for a documentation simplification framework that emphasizes quality outcomes.
- Researchers: A collaboration between federal agencies to facilitate standardized data sharing will fuel innovative tech discoveries that can drive value-based care. AMIA also advocated for an app vetting process to ensure safe and effective mHealth options.
“We have made great progress in adopting EHRs in the last six years, but now our charge is even more difficult,” said AMIA President and CEO Douglas Fridsma, M.D., in a release emailed to FierceHealthcare. “Now we must develop and implement strategies that allow all stakeholders – patients, clinicians, researchers, developers and policymakers—to truly benefit from a connected, innovative health ecosystem. Policy recommendations developed in this paper have given decision-makers a host of options necessary to accomplish this.”
Even amid regulatory uncertainty in Washington, D.C., CIOs have said value-based care is here to stay, and National Quality Forum Senior Director Jason Goldwater recently said value-based care will provide an incentive for healthcare organizations to implement cutting edge blockchain technology. Meanwhile, health systems and payers are turning to telehealth and data analytics to improve outcomes and reduce costs.