Interoperability, MU Stage 2 take center stage during National Health IT Week

Sept. 17, 2013

ANN ARBOR, MI, September 17, 2013 – The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) will participate in a host of activities during the Eighth Annual National Health IT Week meant to update and educate lawmakers on the state and value of health IT policy implementation.

The nation’s healthcare chief information officers will educate Congress and Federal Agencies on the challenges and benefits of interoperability; share personal stories of how health IT has benefited the lives of loved ones, and reinforce previous calls to extend Stage 2 Meaningful Use in Washington, D.C. this week.

“CHIME has been a strong and proud partner in helping to raise awareness in Washington, D.C. and across the country about the benefits of an e-enabled healthcare delivery system,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell FCHIME, CHCIO. “We continue that tradition by highlighting the struggles and ultimate success of interoperability; by telling very personal stories about the value of health IT and by emphasizing a policy recommendation to extend Meaningful Use in 2014.”

In support of NHIT Week’s interoperability theme, CHIME released a case study of San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare which looks at challenges surrounding health information exchange, patient matching, data mapping between EHRs, and the struggle to use standardized terminologies across multiple settings. Led by Senior Vice President and CIO Bill Spooner; Making Information Flow: Even with EHRs, There’s More Than Meets the Eye details how Sharp is addressing challenges of interoperability, including efforts to ensure that the correct patient is matched with the correct electronic health record.

“In an era of frequent mergers, innovative provider affiliations, collaborative care arrangements and declining revenues, it is essential to view our patients across that entire care continuum,” said Bill Spooner, Sharp HealthCare senior vice president and CIO said. “Robust interoperability is a competitive advantage deserving greater appreciation.”

Also this week, CHIME member CIOs from across the country will be lending their voice to a series of blogs on CHIME’s StateNet that tell a personal story of how health IT made a difference in the care of a loved one. In describing his son’s experience with a cancer-like blood condition, Branzell said that information technology was crucial to making sure the best care was delivered.

“We’re not just dealing with wires, software and computers,” Branzell wrote. “We’re dealing with lives, and what’s happening today will make a profound difference, perhaps even the difference between life and death.”

Finally, NHIT Week will serve as a national platform for CHIME to reiterate calls to extend Stage 2 Meaningful Use. “We strongly believe that EHR incentive payments under the policy of Meaningful Use have been essential in moving the nation’s healthcare system into the 21st Century,” said Sharon Canner, CHIME Senior Director of Public Policy. “Since we began this conversation last May, our belief was the industry would best be served by maximizing the opportunity of program success, which means maximizing participation in Meaningful Use. CHIME believes the best way to do this is to extend the 2014 reporting window for hospitals and eligible professionals by 12-months.”

In May, CHIME called for a Stage 2 extension in a response to a Senate report questioning several aspects of the HITECH Act. Subsequently, several organizations have joined CHIME in asking for an extended reporting window in 2014, including HIMSS, ACP, AHA, AAFP, MGMA and AMA.

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