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.
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 »
In June 3 letters, America’s Essential Hospitals encouraged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to consider the regulatory burden that new interoperability requirements would place on essential hospitals.view more »
The Office for Civil Rights updated its website with new guidance related to health information technology access rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The guidance is particularly relevant given the push for increased patient access through third-party applications.view more »
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology extended to June 3 the deadlines for commenting on two proposed rules related to interoperability, patient access to health information, and information blocking.view more »
The agency in April will randomly select nine Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–covered entities, including health plans and clearinghouses, for compliance reviews.view more »
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated the Promoting Interoperability Programs website with new resources for the 2019 program year. The agency also announced two calls on the recently released interoperability and patient access proposed rule.view more »
The proposals aim to increase interoperability and improve patients’ access to their health information, while reducing regulatory burden on hospitals.view more »
In response to a request for information, America’s Essential Hospitals urges the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act encourages care coordination and reduces regulatory burden on essential hospitals.view more »
The report, by America’s Essential Hospitals and six other national hospital associations, highlights the importance of interoperability and outlines six pathways to ensure health information technology systems can seamlessly communicate.view more »
America’s Essential Hospitals and six other hospital groups urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to refrain from adding health information exchange requirements to the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation.view more »
New resources from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center outline new hacking and malware threats and prevention techniques.view more »