AMA statement on ONC’s report on electronic health records data sharing

“The AMA is pleased that policymakers are addressing the challenges of sharing data, such as data lock-in and the cost prohibitive practices of vendors. We also believe aspects of the Office of the National Health IT’s (ONC) recently proposed certification rule will increase transparency in EHR capability and costs and will help align the health IT market with physician consumer needs.

“We generally agree with most of the findings of the new report by ONC, as it echoes a lot of the concerns we’ve been hearing from physicians, in particular, the cost and technological barriers to information exchange. However, we have concerns with some of the solutions suggested by ONC.

“We simply do not support the notion of further tying physician payments or their participation in Medicare to activities outside their control. Data sharing happens every day through the collaboration of physicians, patients, and their care givers.As physicians transition to value- based payment models, they will require better technology and standards that enable data exchange and care coordination.

“Additionally, as stated in our recent ONC RoadmapExternal Link comments, we do not believe ONC should be the driving force in the creation of a national health information exchange governance framework. Many of the challenges raised in this report can be mitigated by allowing current industry efforts to flourish. The AMA is a founding member of CarequalityExternal Link, a public-private collaborative that facilitates agreement among diverse stakeholders to develop and maintain a common interoperability framework enabling seamless information exchange.We are also founding members of HealthewayExternal Link, which is working to address the challenges of secure and interoperable technologies through its support of the nationwide eHealth Exchange.

“Physicians are prolific users of technology and medicine has always been on the cutting edge of science. Nearly 80 percent of physicians use electronic records at their offices—but there is still room to improve EHR usability.The investment physicians have already made in digitizing their office is just another example that sharing information is at the heart of better patient care.

“The AMA has offered numerous solutions to both ONC and Congress on ways to improve data sharing that we hope will be further considered. We continue to support ONC’s effort to work with other agencies to address this problem, including clarifying security and privacy laws and enhancing transparency.”

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