HEALTHCARE AT HOME:
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LAS VEGAS — March 6, 2018 — Patients will gain complete control over their own health data following the implementation of "BlueButton 2.0" and "MyHealthEData," CMS administrator Seema Verma told a standing-room-only audience at HIMSS18, the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. She added a plea calling on all health insurers to follow Medicare's lead and also make data available to patients.

MyHealthEData, the administrator said, will empower patients by giving them control of their healthcare data, and allowing it to follow them through their healthcare journey, from doctor to doctor or to their other healthcare providers.

A government-wide initiative, MyHealthEData is led by the White House Office of American Innovation with participation from DHHS, CMS, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The initiative is designed to empower patients around a common aim - giving every American control of their medical data.

MyHealthEData will help to break down the barriers that prevent patients from having electronic access and true control of their own health records from the device or application of their choice. Patients will be able to choose the provider that best meets their needs and then give that provider secure access to their data, leading to greater competition and reducing costs.

Ms. Verma opined that the MyHealthEData initiative will work to make clear that patients deserve to not only electronically receive a copy of their entire health record, but also to be able to share their data with whomever they want, making the patient the center of the healthcare system. Patients can use their information to actively seek out providers and services that meet their unique healthcare needs, have a better understanding of their overall health, prevent disease, and make more informed decisions about their care.

She also announced the launch of Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 – a new and secure way for Medicare beneficiaries to access and share their personal health data in a universal digital format. This enables patients who participate in the traditional Medicare program to connect their claims data to the secure applications, providers, services, and research programs they trust.

For example, Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 will allow a patient to access and share their healthcare information, previous prescriptions, treatments, and procedures with a new doctor which can lead to less duplication in testing and provide continuity of care. Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 is expected to foster increased competition among technology innovators to serve Medicare patients and their caregivers, finding better ways to use claims data to serve patients’ health needs.

More than 100 organizations, including some of the most notable names in technological innovation, have signed on to use Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 to develop applications that will provide innovative new tools to help these patients manage their health.

In her remarks, Administrator Verma specifically called on all healthcare insurers to follow CMS’s lead and give patients access to their claims data in a digital format.
“CMS serves more than 130 million beneficiaries through our programs, which means we are uniquely positioned to transform how important healthcare data is shared between patients and their doctors,” said Administrator Verma. “Today, we are calling on private health plans to join us in sharing their data with patients because enabling patients to control their Medicare data so that they can quickly obtain and share it is critical to creating more patient empowerment.”Additionally, CMS intends to overhaul its Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to refocus the programs on interoperability and to reduce the time and cost required of providers to comply with the programs’ requirements. CMS will continue to collaborate with ONC to improve the clinician experience with their EHRs.

Administrator Verma said CMS has implemented laws regarding information blocking – a practice in which providers prevent patients from getting their data. Under some CMS programs, hospitals and clinicians must show they have not engaged in information blocking activities.

The Administrator also highlighted other CMS plans to empower patients with data:
• CMS is requiring providers to update their systems to ensure data sharing.
• CMS intends to require that a patient’s data follow them after they are discharged from the hospital.
• CMS is working to streamline documentation and billing requirements for providers to allow doctors to spend more time with their patients.
• CMS is working to reduce the incidence of unnecessary and duplicative testing which occurs as a result of providers not sharing data.

To view a fact sheet with more information, visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2018-Fact-sheets-items/2018-03-06.html

To read a copy of the Administrator’s speech, visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2018-Press-releases-items/2018-03-06-2.html

©2018 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. editor@homecaretechreport.com