- In keeping with the aims of the MyHealthEData initiative, CMS recently launched a Data Element Library (DEL) that supports health data and health IT standardization to improve interoperability.
DEL is a free, centralized database that enables the public to view the specific types of data CMS requires post-acute care (PAC) facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation hospitals, to collect during patient health assessments.
“These assessments include questions and response options (data elements) about patients, including demographics, medical problems and other types of health evaluations,” wrote CMS in a recent announcement. “Many of these data elements have been standardized, which means that they are exactly the same no matter which type of post-acute care facility is using them.”
Healthcare organizations use this EHR-integrated patient health data to earn federal incentive payments and fulfill measures for quality improvement.
“It is important to note that the DEL doesn’t contain any patient-identifiable data whatsoever,” clarified CMS.
DEL supports interoperability by providing healthcare organizations with health IT standards to ensure connectivity between different EHR systems.
“Because the DEL now puts these standards and data elements all in one place in a “one-stop shop,” it will be much easier for health IT vendors to incorporate them into electronic health records (EHRs) that are used by post-acute care providers,” stated CMS.
Integrating this data directly into EHR systems will improve the flow of health information between providers and organizations.
“We’re excited to add this important building block to the foundation for interoperability that CMS is helping to establish,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The DEL supports the use and sharing of data, and aligns with MyHealthEData, a government-wide effort strengthening the interoperability of health information.”
Federal entities, including the White House Office of American Innovation, HHS, CMS, ONC, VA, and the National Institute of Health have collaborated to achieve the aims of the MyHealthEData initiative.
The initiative is primarily centered on ensuring patients can receive copies of their entire EHRs, share their personal health data with anyone they choose, and put themselves at the center of the healthcare system.
In addition to MyHealthEData, Verma also noted DEL will help to advance the aims of the Patients Over Paperwork initiative, which is designed to reduce administrative burden and healthcare costs while also improving care coordination and patient health outcomes.
Specifically, Patients Over Paperwork serves as a collaborative process for evaluating and streamlining regulations to minimize regulatory burden, increase clinical efficiency, and improve the beneficiary experience.
Ultimately, DEL will help to improve health data standardization and interoperability by serving as a resource for CMS assessment data elements, promoting CMS assessment data set sharing and health IT standards, and supporting healthcare industry efforts to promote EHR use and health data exchange.
So far, CMS stated DEL will include data elements from patient assessment instruments for long-term care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and hospice settings.
“Through the DEL application, providers, vendors, researchers, and other stakeholders will be able search the database and generate reports on CMS assessment contents, including questions, response options, relevant details, and their associated health IT standards, in one location,” stated CMS in a DEL fact sheet.
By improving interoperability and health data standardization across care settings, CMS helps to ensure patients can have access to their information when needed.
This positive step toward streamlining the flow of information helps to break down existing barriers to health data use so that patients are more in control of their information.