Halamka on the November HIT Standards Committee

John D. HalamkaThe November HIT Standards Committee included a comprehensive review of the CMS Meaningful Use Stage 3/Modification Rule and the ONC 2015 Certification Rule. We begin the meeting with a presentation from Robert Anthony of the Meaningful Use Stage 3 and Modification Rule. A robust discussion followed. Issued raised as those similar to the ones I identified in previous blog posts.

The main concern was the alignment of the CMS Meaningful Use rule with future pay for performance criteria that will be part of MACRA/Merit-based Payment Incentive programs. Additionally there was significant discussion about the API requirement and the notion that “an API that can be used by applications chosen by the patient” implies that there cannot be curation or security review of patient selected applications.    All agreed that CMS and OCR need to clarify how patient access can be balanced with security imperatives.

The 6 public health requirements apply to providers but CMS has no authority to standardize communications on the public health side.  This could lead to significant regional variation in public health transaction flow. The next presentation from Elise Sweeney Anthony and Mike Lipinski covered the 2015 Certification Rule. Issues discussed included privacy and security criteria, safety enhanced design, field audits, and the API requirements.

As I’ve stated in previous posts and articles, I believe the CMS Stage 2 modifications are good but the Stage 3 requirements could be moved into merit-based incentive programs and the Meaningful Use program eliminated.

Regarding the ONC Certification rule, the API requirement should include additional specificity for FHIR/OAuth. I realize that it is too late, since the rule is final,  but the ONC rule includes so many criteria for so many purposes that I believe the market will find it very confusing.  It has the potential to create enormous burden beyond the intent and original goals of HITECH. Private sector innovation in support of MACRA/MIPS is likely more powerful than certification to accelerate the functionality and interoperability we need.

Halamka on the November HIT Standards Committee was authored by Dr. John D. Halamka and published in his blog, Life as a Healthcare CIO. It is reprinted by Open Health News under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. The original post can be found here.