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Healthcare Reforms

The Office of National Coordinator for Health IT recently published a post explaining the newly established metrics by HHS to evaluate EHR interoperability under MACRA. ONC has to develop interoperability measures for MACRA and lay down specific parameters concerning how to create the measure by the end of this month.

Two standards will measure MACRA interoperability: Measure 1 – Part of healthcare providers who engage electronically in finding, receiving, sending health information data, as well as integrate information obtained from outer sources; and Measure 2 – Part of healthcare providers who report using the information obtained electronically from outside sources and providers for clinical decision-making.

The ONC till date has received over 100 comments from the public about how the measure should be created; the comments generally were concentrating on widening the scope of measurement, reducing reporting burden, identifying effects as well as the exchange of health information, and acknowledging the intricacy of reporting. According to ONC, “Ultimately, these metrics will help inform the wide range of efforts underway to achieve a learning health system where information flows seamlessly and securely.”

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Interoperability Measures

To make the reporting of measures as easy as possible, ONC has stated that it will make use of surveys by national representative providers in order to obtain the required data, and evaluate providers on their persistence to stick to measures. This way, providers do not need to submit any extra information, as the required data will be taken from the American Hospital Association’s survey of hospitals’ health IT usage, and from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics’ survey of office-based physicians.

In order to expand the interoperability towards a broader base of providers, surveys were selected by CMS that will reach providers that are only in the Medicaid and Medicare EHR Incentive Program. ONC stated that they would continue expanding “measurement efforts to include populations across the care continuum in the near-term, as well as an increased focus on outcomes in the longer-term.”

HHS, if fails to expand interoperability by December 31, 2018, will need to publish a report on the following year on the same date discussing the obstacles that slow up inoperability, as well as the ongoing problems and possible solutions.