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Moving Forward With Health IT

By Jamie Martin
Marketing & Communications Manager
Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum

We were pleased to attend the annual meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in Washington, D.C., last week, and as usual, we returned from the meeting excited about the future of health IT.

Technology, as we all know, moves and evolves very quickly, and in driving health IT, we have to move and evolve quickly as well. It is clear after last week’s meeting that ONC is meeting that challenge. A number of new resources were unveiled last week, including:

  • ONC’s Patient Engagement Playbook: We all know that patients who are engaged in their care have better outcomes, lower costs and better communication with their providers than those who don’t engage. Recognizing that patient engagement has a significant positive impact on patients as well as on providers, ONC has released a playbook billed as “an evolving resource for providers, practice staff, hospital staff and other innovators.” It features a compilation of patient engagement tips and best practices that ONC has collected from providers and health systems across the country.

  • Certified Health IT Developer Transparency: ONC is confident that a more transparent health IT marketplace will help promote competition, discourage data blocking and make developers accountable to the needs of providers and health IT purchasers. To promote transparency of certified health IT developers, ONC is requiring developers to publicly disclose detailed information about their products, including the costs that purchaser may encounter. Health IT purchasers can use this site to access a regularly updated list of developers’ mandatory disclosure statements.

  • Your Health Information, Your Rights: ONC has released a series of short videos to help patients understand their rights under HIPAA. These tools are available in both English and Spanish, and serve as a great resource for patients who want to learn more about their rights to get access to their data.
 
The release of these tools and resources are clear indicators that the national focus on health IT and the improvements it brings to health and health care is only growing stronger.

Here in our state, where we have suffered through the frightening situation of needing patient data and not having that data available during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we are also committed to driving health IT, not just for providers, but also for patients. We echo the sentiments of Karen DeSalvo, MD, ONC Director, former Quality Forum Board President and Louisiana native, who said at the close of the ONC 2016 meeting, “I want to reassure you all, as National Coordinator, that I am passionate and committed to seeing that we overcome any policy or technology or business case challenges that there might be so that we don’t have the kind of situations either in times of disaster or everyday life that interfere with people having the kind of health or health care that they choose and deserve and will help bring them the kind of quality of life that we all look for.”
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