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CHIME offers recommendations to Senate HELP committee

In recommendations submitted to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) identified several solutions for improving patient care delivery and supporting the nation’s transition to electronic health records.  CHIME, the healthcare industry’s leading professional organization for chief information officers and senior IT executives, made recommendations related to patient identification, quality measurement, standards identification, certification, patient engagement and Meaningful Use.

CHIME pointed to the lack of a consistent patient identity matching strategy as the most significant challenge inhibiting the safe and secure electronic exchange of health information, calling for the removal of the prohibition barring federal regulators from identifying standards to improve positive patient identification.

“Foundational to the vision espoused by the Committee to improve information exchange and improve patient care, is the ability of providers to accurately and consistently match patients with their data,” CHIME stated.  “With the removal of the outdated prohibition, we believe then that the nation can sincerely engage in a dialogue on finding solutions to solve this fundamental patient safety problem.”

With the shift from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement, CHIME called on the Senate HELP Committee to prioritize a unified strategy for quality measure reporting.  Currently, hospitals and physicians are required to report clinical quality measures (CQMs) to several public and private entities.  CHIME members refer to hours of work and expertise required to comply with these reporting demands and such burdens are exacerbated by a lack of technical harmonization.

To facilitate interoperability and ensure data is being captured and exchanged in the same fashion, CHIME urged the Committee to support the federal government as the entity to incentivize the use of standards.

CHIME also expressed the need for Congress to ensure that ONC dutifully reexamine its certification program and incorporate more robust interoperability testing in future Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) Edition updates. To help the agency pivot its certification program towards interoperability, CHIME stated, Congress should:

  • Require changes to ONC’s approach to testing;
  • Enhance ONC’s ability to enforce adherence to certification program requirements;
  • Establish mechanisms to bring more transparency to the performance of CEHRT, especially related to interoperability.

CHIME concluded with recommendations to preserve the integrity of the EHR Incentive Program, reiterating its recommendation to delay the production of Stage 3 final rules until the completion of the 2016 program year.

“The Meaningful Use program has been a successful driver of health IT adoption, but we need a course correction,” said CHIME CEO and President Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO. “Our members believe in the intent and promise of the program, but we must find the program’s true north.”

“The thorough and methodical approach that the Committee has employed, under the leadership of Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray, is commendable,” said Leslie Krigstein, CHIME Interim Vice President of Public Policy. “The Committee’s interest is extremely timely to ensure EHR systems, serving as the digital infrastructure for delivery system reform, meet the demands of patients and providers alike.” The full text of CHIME’s recommendations can be found here.