Senator's Call For Reboot Of EHR Incentive Program Evokes Responses

John Oncea | Healthcare Technology Online | June 5, 2013

The recent white paper released by six Republican Senators assessing federal progress promoting health information technology adoption and standards asked for reader feedback, and the healthcare industry responded.

The April release of Reboot: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT, co-authored by Republican Senators Lamar Alexander (TN), Richard Burr (NC), Tom Coburn (OK), Michael B. Enzi (WY), Pat Roberts (KS), and John Thune (SD), set out to seek “feedback on federal progress promoting health information technology adoption and standards.” The authors wanted to outline “concerns with current health IT policy, including interoperability, increased costs, potential waste and abuse, patient privacy, and sustainability.”

The 27-page report concludes by acknowledging, “Transformations in health IT will significantly change how health care is provided in this country.” It also states, “The details of federal law and regulation may be inadvertently incentivizing unworkable, incoherent policy goals that ultimately make it difficult to achieve interoperability.” The Senators call for a “reboot” of the federal electronic health record (EHR) incentive program with the creation of a system that allows seamless sharing of EHRs in a manner that appropriately guards taxpayer dollars as a stated goal. They list the following as implementation deficiencies must be addressed in order to meet that goal: