- Cerner supports policies part of the fiscal year 2019 CMS IPPS proposed rule related to promoting the development of application programming interfaces (APIs) and improving interoperability, Cerner executives told Kansas City Business Journal.
The proposed rule includes policies designed to overhaul the EHR Incentive Programs and rebrand meaningful use as “Promoting Interoperability.” The name change reflects the federal agency’s plans to highlight health data exchange and patient health data access in federal regulation.
Cerner representatives stated the health IT company supports federal regulations intended to reduce administrative burden on providers and improve health data exchange. The health IT company also supports CMS efforts to encourage the development of APIs to enable more streamlined patient EHR data access.
“We encourage CMS to continue to consider introduction of new measures like the ones being proposed here, particularly as they are related to interoperability capabilities supported through APIs,” Cerner Senior Director of Public Policy Meg Marshall told Kansas City Business Journal. “Open APIs in health care are ripe for software developers to build robust applications to create more consumer-friendly experiences and smarter workflows for doctors.”
Cerner has been building out its open platform services team to work with over 22 commercial health IT innovators and app developers. The platform utilizes the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard to give developers a way to build tools that work and integrate with EHR systems.
“Innovation begins with the ability to share, and a standards-first approach to data sharing is the only way forward,” stated Marshall.
Cerner also supports CMS efforts to narrow the focus of federal regulation so that health data exchange is the primary focus of reporting requirements. As part of the most recent CMS proposed rule, the formerly-known meaningful use program will only include measures that promote and improve health data exchange and patient access to health information.
"Cerner supports CMS’s proposals reducing regulatory and administrative burden on providers as well as moving the EHR Incentive program forward by narrowing its focus to interoperability, including patient access," Marshall wrote.
Cerner is one of many healthcare industry stakeholders to praise the new proposed rule.
The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) similarly voiced its approval of the proposed rule, commending the federal agency’s focus on putting patients first.
“We appreciate CMS’s efforts to empower patients with information about their medical records and costs of care,” said FAH President Chip Kahn in a public statement. “The proposed increase in critically needed funds to treat the uninsured as well as the reduction in regulatory burden will also help enhance access to quality care for all patients.”
Other stakeholders — including AHA, CHIME, and DirectTrust — have also praised CMS for policies in the proposed rule that promote interoperability, API development, and reduced administrative burden.
However, DirectTrust CEO David Kibbe and AHA Vice President Tim Nickels found fault with certain aspects of the proposed rule.
Kibbe noted CMS overlooked existing methods of effective health data exchange in the proposed rule that may help patients maintain control of their health data.
“I do wish that CMS had also promoted the use of DirectTrust addresses by patients and consumers as another alternative for patient direction and control as to where their medical information is transported and stored,” said Kibbe.
Meanwhile, Nickels stated AHA’s disappointment with a policy related to the use of 2015 edition certified EHR technology (CEHRT).
"We are disappointed, however, that the agency will require use of 2015 Edition Certified EHR Technology beginning in 2019," Nickels wrote.
CMS encourages all stakeholders to submit feedback about the proposed rule until the public comment period closes on June 25, 2018.