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DirectTrust Advises New Administration on Sustaining EHR Use

DirectTrust wants to see the new administration continue the upward trajectory of EHR use.

By Sara Heath

EHR use has grown under the past two US presidents, and DirectTrust would like to see that continue under the next Presidential administration.

To ensure that happens, DirectTrust submitted a list of four recommendations to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team earlier this week.

"We've made significant progress in the areas of increased electronic health records (EHR) adoption and interoperability during the past four years,” said DirectTrust CEO and President David C. Kibbe, MD, MBA. “Our hope is that the momentum established to this point will continue under the new administration.”

Overall, DirectTrust hopes to see health IT continue an upward trajectory, becoming more interoperable in order to facilitate better care coordination.

To that end, Kibbe first recommended the administration appoint a strong and respected healthcare leader to the National Coordinator for Health IT post. The ONC leader will be instrumental in pushing the industry toward stronger and more effective technology.

“We need a National Coordinator with the skills to speak to technical audiences on the key standards for interoperability, security controls, and content delivery that support value-based payments,” Kibbe said.

“Also important for new ONC leadership experience will be usability of the end-user's IT systems, integration of IT into workflows for care coordination and making improvements to health IT certification, including real-world testing.”

Second, Kibbe asked the new administration not to reverse the advances the industry has made with regard to EHR adoption and interoperability. Instead, new health IT improvement initiatives should build on the old, as not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

“The new administration should seek to ‘hold the gains’ in both EHR adoption and interoperability,” Kibbe asserted.

“New policies should build on existing technology for interoperable exchange already integrated into EHRs under the 2014 Certification Program, such as Direct Messaging, eHealthExchange, IHE-XDR and the CCDA, while supporting development of new technologies and evolving content standards, like FHIR.”

Third, Kibbe advocated for stronger health IT and EHR security. Over the course of the past few years, security incidents have plagued the industry. According to Kibbe, the administration has a responsibility to enact policies to quell these issues.

Specifically, the administration should focus on safeguards such as data encryption, authentication, and identity management.

Last, Kibbe said the administration should uphold provider and developer accountability programs, helping to improve care outcomes. Specifically, it should ensure the programs such as the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and meaningful use are clear, helping to reduce regulatory burden.

Going forward, Kibbe and DirectTrust say they are eager to collaborate with the new administration.

"We look forward to working with the new administration and in particular, with ONC and CMS, to support interoperability and provide the industry with reliable means for secure and easy exchange of health information," said Dr. Kibbe.

Beyond promising the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration has made some moves in the healthcare space in preparation for inauguration day.

Late last month, the President-elect nominated Georgia Congressman Tom Price, MD, to be the next leader of the Department of Health & Human Services. The selection was met with much industry praise, including from leaders at the American Medical Association.

“The American Medical Association strongly supports the nomination of Dr. Tom Price to become the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. His service as a physician, state legislator and member of the U.S. Congress provides a depth of experience to lead HHS,” AMA said.

President-elect Trump has also tapped Seema Verma, CEO and founder of consulting firm SVC, as the next leader of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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