National Health IT Week is upon us! September 15 through the 19 is filled with events, panels, webinars, and activities surrounding healthcare information technology. One of the events includes the annual HIMSS Public Policy Summit. The “Congressional Asks” are a part of the summit each year where a group of HIMSS volunteers compiles a list of priority recommendations for U.S. Congress. Participants will head to Capitol Hill on September 18 to present this year’s top three priorities to Congress .
There have been a lot of changes to healthcare information systems in recent years. With these changes, healthcare providers, payers, and health IT vendors are facing challenges with regulatory guidance. HIMSS’ first recommendation to Congress is to “Minimize Disruption to Our Nation’s Health System Emanating from Federally Mandated Health IT Programs.” As a solution, HIMSS suggests that the Secretary of Health and Human Services create a five-year guide for all health IT requirements and changes mandated by the government.
As their second recommendation to Congress, HIMSS’ suggests to “Fund the National Coordinator for Health IT to Achieve Interoperability, Improve Clinical Quality, and Ensure Privacy and Safety.” The country has made significant strides in transforming the way electronic health records are shared and health information is exchanged. In order to continue this push, HIMSS is proposing that Congress sufficiently fund the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request.
As their third and final recommendation to Congress, HIMSS proposes to “Expand Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Access and Outcomes and Decrease Healthcare Costs.” The benefits of telehealth are not being executed equally or to their fullest potential across the country. In order to address this issue, HIMSS suggests that Congress pass legislation that facilitates the capabilities of telehealth services in their entirety.
According to Christina Caraballo, Senior Healthcare Strategist for Get Real Health, “HIMSS’ ‘asks’ this year are exactly what are needed to help the industry as a whole continue to strive towards implementing HIT across all settings of care while making clear that we expect nothing less than interoperability throughout the nation.” Christina adds, “I’m personally excited to see real momentum in reaching the underserved and rural populations. To effectively realize our ultimate goal of improved care and reduced costs, it is imperative that we truly align our efforts and focus on the big picture.”
As a partner in National Health IT Week, Get Real Health is interested in seeing how Congress will address these important “Congressional Asks.” Stay updated with @GetReal_Health on twitter throughout #NHITWeek!