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The Bipartisan Policy Center’s report, Transforming Health Care: The Role of Health IT, describes the important role that electronic information sharing plays in driving improvements in the quality, cost, and patient experience of care.

BPC’s Health Innovation Initiative is conducting considerable work in this area, a summary of which is provided below.

1. Accelerating Electronic Information Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care: Key Findings and Recommendations

Informed by research, including a survey of clinicians on the information needs associated with transitions of care (described in more detail below) and insights provided by experts and leaders across every sector of health care, BPC’s Health Innovation Initiative developed a set of findings and recommendations for accelerating electronic information sharing to support improvements in the cost and quality of care.

BPC’s report, Accelerating Electronic Information Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care, released in October 2012, explores common needs and requirements for information sharing among clinicians, the current state of health information sharing, barriers to its adoption, and the role that “Meaningful Use” and related standards and certification requirements play in accelerating the electronic exchange of health information.

The report includes several recommendations including those related to planning and strategy, standards for interoperability, improving the accuracy of matching patient data, updating current laws, and addressing privacy and security needs.

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2. Exploring the Electronic Information Needs of Clinicians for Transitions of Care

In October 2012, BPC, in collaboration with Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care, released the results of a survey of clinicians on the electronic information sharing needs of clinicians associated with transitions of care through the report, Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care.

The survey was conducted by Doctors Helping Doctors in collaboration with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), and American EHR Partners.

The report summarizes the needs and preferences of clinicians regarding the types of patient information needed for various care transitions, how they would like to receive such information, and how quickly. The report also summarizes clinician views on both the benefits of electronic health information sharing and the barriers to its achievement. 

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3. Challenges and Strategies for Accurately Matching Patients to Their Health Data 

Enabling a clinician, a member of a care team, or even a patient to view a comprehensive picture of an individual patient’s care, requires the accurate and efficient “matching” of a patient’s health records across the multiple and diverse settings in which care and services are delivered. Current methods for matching or linking of such data are not only prone to error, they also introduce significant burden and cost to the health care system. Currently, there is no national strategy for effectively and accurately matching patients to their health records across disparate systems.

BPC conducted research and engaged both experts and stakeholders across every sector in health care, to gain a more in-depth understanding of the challenges associated with accurately matching patient data and the policies and strategies needed to address those challenges.

BPC’s initial work in this area is captured in the report, Challenges and Strategies for Accurately Matching Patients to Their Health Data, published in June 2012. Additional analysis and recommendations are included in BPC’s report, Accelerating Electronic Information Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care, released in October 2012.

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