Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released two companion reports yesterday that recommend accelerating electronic sharing of information across the multiple settings where patients receive care to promote better coordination and higher quality health care. The findings recognize that health information technology (IT) and electronic health information sharing play a critical role in improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of care.
Click here to watch the video from yesterday’s report release and event.
The two reports, Accelerating Electronic Information Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care and Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care, are based on the results of a survey conducted by Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care in collaboration with the American College of Physicians and other medical societies and collaborative efforts of the BPC Health IT Initiative.
- A Business Case for Electronic Health Information Sharing is Now Emerging The rapid proliferation of new delivery system and payment models, combined with more robust health information sharing requirements in Stage 2 of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs—informally referred to as “Meaningful Use”–are expanding the business case for electronic health information sharing.
- Lack of Interoperability and Information Exchange Infrastructure are Major Barriers to Information Sharing Among Clinicians More than 70 percent of clinicians surveyed cite the lack of interoperability and an information infrastructure—along with the associated costs—as major barriers to electronic information sharing. Only 22 percent of clinicians surveyed perceive the lack of a business case to be a major barrier to exchange
- Stage 2 of Meaningful Use Supports Increased Interoperability and Electronic Health Information Sharing Stage 2 Meaningful Use builds upon Stage 1 by adding expanded requirements for eligible professionals and hospitals to share information electronically for transitions of care and requiring certified EHR technology to receive, display, and transmit many more types of data using standards, including a majority of those identified by the clinician survey.
- Clinicians Share Common Electronic Health Information Needs and Requirements When asked about their information needs for transitions of care, a majority of clinicians agree that medication lists, relevant laboratory test results, and relevant imaging test results are essential to clinical decision-making. When asked about preferred methods of access, a majority of clinicians surveyed would like only the information they view as “essential” to be “pushed” to them, with the ability to access the rest of the information through a “query”.
- Accelerate Interoperability and Electronic Information Sharing The report calls for a national strategy and long-term plan for standards and interoperability to support a broad set of health care priorities; collaboration among primary care clinicians, medical specialties, and hospitals to define and gain agreement on common information sharing needs to promote coordinated, value-based care; and sub-regulatory guidance on the ability to “query” information and share imaging test results.
- Improve the Accuracy of Patient Matching Development and implementation of a national strategy for improving accuracy of patient matching is needed, along with exploration of consumer-facilitated approaches. A national forum to enable the sharing of lessons learned and best practices is needed.
- Update Current Laws to Advance Information Sharing The Stark Law exceptions and Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbors for health IT donations should be extended, while assuring robust requirements for interoperability. HHS should establish an Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbor and Stark Law exception for payments associated with the electronic transmission of data that accompany a referral or order.
- Improve Clarity of Privacy and Security Laws The report calls for comprehensive and clear guidance on compliance with federal privacy and security laws and the development of standards and guidance to support a range of patient consent models. A study of differences in state laws is also needed, to inform operational guidance as well as federal and state policy.
About Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care and the Clinician Survey Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care (Doctors Helping Doctors) is a non-profit, collaborative effort led primarily by doctors—for doctors—to support the transformation of health care, initially through health information technology, given the foundational role it plays in improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of care. Doctors Helping Doctors and the American College of Physicians developed and analyzed the results of the clinician survey, which was fielded by AmericanEHR Partners, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Surgeons, and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems. The results of the survey, published in collaboration with the Bipartisan Policy Center, are contained in the report Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care.