Guest post by: Lauren Fifield, senior health policy advisor, Practice Fusion
Many HIT vendors will be largely focused on major development efforts to meet 2014 edition certification requirements for meaningful use. However, as Stage 2 measures aim at improving patient engagement, quality and interoperability, we may be surprised by the new technologies that existing and new companies develop to meet the requirements:
- Patient health records or portals allowing for access to and transmission of health information
- Consumer applications to provide patient education and communication with providers
- Exchange platforms to share clinical information like immunizations, diseases and more
- Clinical decision support tools for medical professionals to improve their quality of care
We’ll also see new industry movement toward improved patient safety through provider training, reporting and other efforts. Thanks to the successful collaboration between vendors and the agencies that help providers achieve meaningful use, we expect the Food and Drug Administration to work with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to engage key stakeholders by addressing the 18-month study mandated in the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of June 2012.
Given the continued and ever-growing provider outcry to address the broken payment system, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may finally develop plans to move to a reimbursement system that relies on quality and outcomes. With the recent announcement of more than 106 new ACO contracts, growing provider participation in new payment models, and the new possibilities opened up by technology vendors, it may at last be time to put this broken system behind us.
Though much of the 2013 transformation is fueled by government initiatives, the healthcare industry is at a tipping point regardless of any push on Uncle Sam’s part. Patients will soon be expected to pay for more of their care, making consumer health tools, telehealth and personalized medicine more appealing and important. Providers tired of the payment system will partner with technologists and private payers to try alternative models and cash-based business. And big data might just find a home amid all these new patient, provider and health system innovations.