Calif. Health IT Groups Urge Focus on Health Data Transparency
Two California-based health information technology organizations have sent letters to Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) highlighting the importance of health care data transparency and interoperability, FierceHealthIT reports (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 8/15).
The letters came in response to a June request from Wyden and Grassley seeking ideas "to enhance the availability and utility of health care data" while protecting patient privacy from 200 health care industry individuals and groups. Tuesday was the deadline for responses to the senators' query (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 8/12).
Details of West Health Institute Letter
La Jolla-based West Health Institute in its letter noted the need for "seamless, semantic interoperability" between electronic health record systems to ensure access to health data for health care providers, insurers, patients and patients' families.
West Health argued that such interoperability would increase care quality and enable patients and stakeholders to make informed health care decisions.
West Health CEO Nicholas Valeriani said that the lack of interoperability within health IT systems "works against the ability of all providers engaged in the care of an individual patient to readily share observations and insights, and thereby frustrates the coordination of care that is essential to having optimal, patient-centered health care."
Details of the Pacific Business Group on Health Letter
In a separate letter, San Francisco-based Pacific Business Group on Health recommended several moves to improve interoperability, including:
Collaborating with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to establish a date for EHR interoperability; and
Using federal reimbursement incentives to reward providers who share health data effectively.
PBGH also wrote that patient-reported outcomes are a key of patient-centered health care systems but often are missing from such systems. Specifically, the organization argued that patient-reported outcomes could be used for:
- Provider accountability; and
- Consumer decisions (FierceHealthIT, 8/15).