The president's fiscal 2014 budget proposal requests $78 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The increase in funding is in part because ONCHIT funding under the Recovery Act ends in fiscal 2013, says the Health and Human Services Department's budget in brief (.pdf).
Health data standards development and existing federal incentives for electronic health record adoption won't bring about the widespread electronic sharing of individual medical data among care providers, say the federal organizations charged with administering those incentive programs and developing health information technology standards.
During a webinar hosted by the National eHealth Collaborative, officials drew attention to a Jan. 6 draft Blue Button implementation guide outlining how providers can securely transmit patient data and do so in a semi-structured manner. The pell-mell quality of Blue Button-downloaded data has long been recognized as a downfall of the effort, which began in the Veterans Affairs Department as a means to permit patients to have an electronic receipt of care received.
Lack of awareness and the need for additional innovation are among the barriers preventing the widespread use of electronic health-related tools among consumers, according to a new report (.pdf) from the Bipartisan Policy Center. The report also finds that the adoption of electronic tools among clinicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers is not widespread, despite their reducing costs and improving the quality and experience of care for patients.
Lacking documentation from medical providers that they actually make meaningful use of the electronic health record systems bought with federal subsidies, the Medicare program has left itself vulnerable to the possibility that providers aren't making full use of the systems, says the Health and Human Services Department office of inspector general.
The Health and Human Services Department faces a major challenge as it aims to strike a balance between rapidly modernizing the healthcare system and changing at a pace that can be absorbed by healthcare professionals and IT vendors, said an HHS official during a Nov. 14 House subcommittee hearing.
"The stage 3 vision includes a collaborative model of care with shared responsibility and accountability, building upon the previous MU objectives," says the draft Meaningful Use Stage 3 recommendations (.pdf). The draft was released for comment during a Nov. 7 health information technology policy meeting in Washington, D.C.
Perhaps realizing that the private sector may not spontaneously improve Blue Button downloadable medical record design, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within the Health and Human Services Department is mounting a $51,000 (total) challenge for people to stop making it "look and feel like a receipt."
State health information exchanges can best prepare for emergencies by ensuring that health information is readily accessible during routine care, concludes a report (.pdf) from the Southeast Regional HIT-HIE Collaboration published in July. But the report finds day-to-day health information sharing is a challenge, as individual state's efforts and HIE implementation timelines vary considerably.
A Challenge.gov contest is seeking an app that would inform people of their personal risk for cardiovascular disease and compel them to take action to reduce it. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and Million Hearts, a Health and Human Services Department initiative, will award a $100,000 grand prize and $5,000 each to up to five finalists.