Health IT Now agenda: Patient matching, regulatory clarity

Blue screen for health technology
Health IT Now urges Congress and the Trump administration to address interoperability, patient matching and more.

“For far too long, taxpayer dollars have been spent on outdated technology and the federal government has not gone far enough to remove disincentives to data sharing—much to the detriment to patient safety and quality of care,” says Catherine Pugh, director of government affairs at Health IT Now. “Year after year, health policy experts end up discussing the same problems.”

Health IT Now, a coalition of payers, providers and vendors that supports incentives to deploy health information technology, is vowing to take “a number of steps over the next weeks and months to call attention to” priorities its members say will allow for “the full utilization of health IT to transform the healthcare system,” Pugh wrote in a post on the organization’s blog.

The organization is calling on the Trump administration and Congress to address the following:  


The group is calling on the administration to take swift action on one of the most intractable problems in the healthcare technology industry. It also suggests the new administration do some light reading. "We encourage the administration to take this opportunity to review the requirements of both the ONC Voluntary Certification Program and the Meaningful Use program to ensure they are fully supporting the shift to value-based care under the Quality Payment Programs," Pugh wrote. 

RELATED: GAO criticizes HHS plans to improve interoperability across the continuum of care

Patient matching

"The ability to match patients to their specific health information is of critical importance in advancing interoperability, care coordination and better patient outcomes,” notes the post. “Without a method of patient identification, duplicate tests and contraindicated treatments are more likely." The group laments the fact that the feds haven't embraced patient matching or private market solutions. 

RELATED: 6 steps to proactively manage patient-matching problems

Regulatory clarity

There's a lot of confusion among developers and providers about the role of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in the marketplace. “Congress and the administration should take steps to clarify how the various federal agencies will regulate health IT and to what extent,” Pugh wrote.

RELATED: Healthcare groups to Price: Delay MU requirements indefinitely

Real world evidence

The group is bullish on data gathered outside of controlled clinical trials to help speed new treatments and cures. "Spurred by the use of technology to analyze mass amounts of data at rapid speed, we’re only beginning to realize the potential in healthcare," Pugh wrote.

RELATED: #ICYMI: At HIMSS 2017, data stole the show