As essential hospitals continue their journey toward delivery system reform and improving population health, health information technology (HIT) has become an indispensable tool. The era of paper-based medical records has given way to the electronic health record (EHR), a transition largely due to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, which created incentives for the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs.
Nearly all essential hospitals have adopted an EHR and leverage it to bolster care. Benefits of using EHRs include assisting with electronic prescribing, communicating with public health departments on immunization and disease surveillance, and allowing patients to access their records when and where they choose.
Essential hospitals use HIT to improve patient outcomes and meet public health needs. An association member, for example, used its EHR to reveal elevated lead levels among children in Flint, Mich., which alerted that city to a dire public health threat posed by its water system. Essential hospitals also expand access to lifesaving services in their communities and beyond through telehealth programs.
While the HITECH Act has spurred EHR adoption, many aspects of the federal meaningful use program are burdensome for hospitals, including its increasingly stringent requirements as hospitals progress from one stage to the next.
While EHRs have the potential to drive a beneficial exchange of information between hospitals and other providers and patients, there are many obstacles — most outside a hospital’s control — that prevent a hospital from seamlessly exchanging information. America’s Essential Hospitals will continue to focus its advocacy on ensuring HIT realizes its potential without creating an undue burden on essential hospitals.
Telehealth is an important tool to connect providers and patients, and this technology only became more vital as the pandemic prevented patients from accessing in-office care. This State Policy Snapshot explores how some states have pursued action to make telehealth flexibility permanent.view more »
The House-passed bill does not allocate additional COVID-19 relief for providers on the front lines of the pandemic. An initial version of the legislation included $15.6 billion in COVID-19 related spending — a scaled-back version of the $22.5 billion requested by the Biden administration.view more »
The Washington insurance commissioner, state telehealth collaborative, and state health care authority will study proposed methods to measure the impact of audio-only telemedicine on access to health care services for historically underserved communities and geographic areas.view more »
The nomination of Robert Califf, MD, as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration advances to the Senate floor. The Republican-led Healthy Futures Task Force issues several requests for information on telehealth policies and health care affordability.view more »
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will host a series of webinars to discuss information sharing requirements finalized in a 2020 rule. The first webinar, focused on clinicians, will be Sept. 14, from 1–2 pm ET.view more »
The administration has created a new website, StopRansomware.gov, to help government agencies and the private sector understand the threat of ransomware, mitigate risk, and learn how to respond to a ransomware attack.view more »
In a set of letters, America’s Essential Hospitals urges the administration and congressional leaders to address pressing facility needs of essential hospitals and the health care safety net.view more »
In a newly issued report and order, the Federal Communications Commission provided more information on the application and evaluation process for the second round of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The application window will open within 30 days of the order.view more »
America’s Essential Hospitals sent a letter to President Joe Biden and his administration detailing key priorities for essential hospitals, including issues related to structural racism, COVID-19, Medicaid, the 340B Drug Pricing Program, site-neutral payment policies, immigration, and other topics.view more »
The $2.3 trillion package to fund the government, provide new COVID-19 relief, and stimulate the economy would eliminate a $4 billion cut to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments and add $3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund, among numerous other changes.view more »
The threat involved malicious actors using Trickbot malware to compromise information technology systems, including by engaging in ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of health care services.view more »
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the efficacy of telehealth. America’s Essential Hospitals asked the administration to permanently expand the list of Medicare reimbursable telehealth services and allow reimbursement of certain services using audio-only technology.view more »
The final rule modifies several provisions to facilitate better care coordination and information sharing between providers treating patients with substance use disorder.view more »
Republicans and Democrats remain divided on relief measures to include in a fourth COVID-19 package; the association encourages members to share essential hospital priorities. An association letter to key congressional committees highlights the importance of telehealth during and after the pandemic.view more »
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology have released final rules intended to advance interoperability of health information technology and improve patients’ access to their health information.view more »
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on April 30 issued a second round of waivers and rule changes to provide flexibility to hospitals and improve access to testing for beneficiaries. These changes update waivers issued March 30 to address patient surge.view more »
Eligible health care providers now can apply for funding for information services, telecommunications services, and devices to provide telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.view more »
The short-term COVID-19 Telehealth Program will offer $200 million in immediate relief to providers to purchase technology and device, and the three-year Connect Care Pilot Program will provide $100 million to support connected health services and technology for eligible providers.view more »
The report, mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act, highlights issues and challenges pertaining to the use of health information technology and electronic health records (EHRs) in four categories: clinical documentation; usability and the user experience; EHR reporting; and public health reporting.view more »
The agency reports that cybercriminals could send “phishing” emails purporting to include infection prevention information related to the new coronavirus (2019-nCOV) outbreak.view more »
The issues are related to the validation process for Windows Elliptic Curve Cryptography certificates and the Windows remote desktop client. The Department of Health and Human Services is urging health care providers to install patches to minimize their risk.view more »
New requirements call for hospitals to post charges and information based on rates negotiated with third-party payers, as well as standard charge data for a limited set of “shoppable” services, in a consumer-friendly manner.view more »
External actors can exploit cybersecurity vulnerabilities in medical devices to assume control of a device and change or prevent its intended function.view more »
America’s Essential Hospitals urged the agency to leverage a new pilot program to expand telehealth services in communities essential hospitals serve.view more »