The use of electronic health records by hospitals and doctors is up significantly in 2013, two new reports released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated.
An internal Health and Human Services Department audit found insufficient oversight in ensuring that certified electronic health records securely protected patient health data.
Better identity management solutions could go a long way in encouraging electronic health record adoption among patients and providers nationwide, said a Health and Human Services Department official June 19. Many of the health information technology efforts spearheaded by HHS's Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT rely heavily on credentials and authentication.
The Health and Human Services Department's strategy for advancing health information exchange focuses too much on general principals and not enough on deliverables, says the Government Accountability Office.
The White House fiscal 2015 budget proposes $74.7 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a $14 million increase over the current year enacted amount.
The healthcare industry could greatly benefit from innovations in digital identity, said Jeremy Grant, senior executive advisor for identity management at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Rather than create a one-off solution specific to healthcare, the industry can leverage other work being done to support the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
In January, 22 million households in England will begin receiving flyers in the mail explaining a new program that will mine their anonymized health record data. Data extraction will begin shortly after. The program, called care.data, hopes to link information from general practioners and hospitals, and use the resulting trove of health data to improve the safety and care of patients, as well as identify problems in the hospital system and lower the cost of care.
As the Health and Human Services Department builds out the rules for health care providers to meaningfully use electronic health records, it's made much progress but it cannot take its foot off the gas, said Dr. Farzad Mostashari Sept. 4 during his final address to the health information technology policy committee.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched a new eHealth Imitative, headed by Robert Tagalicod, director of the office of e-Health Standards and Services. The initiative's goal is to align health IT efforts and standards program with a focus that goes beyond the electronic health record incentive program.
"We have been, I think, strong supporters of making available data sets as part of meaningful use, part of our certification products and others available, and working with the developer community to make good use of the open data," said Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari during a July 17 Senate Finance Committee hearing.