The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), held a hearing reviewing the implementation of the Interoperability title of the 21st Century Cures Act.
“In 2018, we have held two Cures implementation hearings, including one focusing on biomedical research and innovation at the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration, and one on the mental health title. Today’s hearing completes the 21st Century Cures trifecta and covers the last remaining title, health information technology, ” said #SubHealth Chairman Burgess. “As our society and our economy become increasingly driven by technology, health care is no exception. Electronic health records, patient data, the move to open application programming interfaces (APIs), and other developments have brought health care into the 21st Century. Law lagged behind such advances, which led to various pieces of legislation to address the aforementioned issues, including the HITECH Act in 2009 and 21st Century Cures in 2016,” he continued.
- Donald Rucker, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Opening Statement)
Dr. Rucker discussed the need for improvement across the health IT spectrum, and the impact of the 21st Century Cures Act.
“As of 2015, 96 percent of non-federal acute care hospitals and 78 percent of office-based physicians adopted certified health IT. While progress has been made, additional work is necessary to help advance the availability of electronic health information to patients and their providers. Barriers to the appropriate and secure movement of electronic health information include technical limitations and business incentives. The Cures Act takes a great step toward addressing those barriers,” Dr. Rucker told #SubHealth members.
He continued, “In summary, ONC has made great progress toward implementing key provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act. These actions will maximize the potential of health IT and result in improved care and reduced cost. Due to development timelines and the size and complexity of the U.S. health system, it is important to note that nationwide interoperability will take time to achieve. We believe the policies forthcoming in ONC’s proposed rule on interoperability, information blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification, along with the Trusted Exchange Framework and the Common Agreement firmly place us on the path to achieving the long-term benefits of interoperability for the U.S health system.”
#SubCommTech Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has seen the great impact that 21st Century Cures has had in her district and spoke about her appreciation of the work being done by ONC.
“You also have some nonprofits that are working on how you deliver better patient care, one of those is the Center for Medical Interoperability, which is located right in Nashville, and is looking at that intersection of healthcare technology, healthcare informatics, and predictive diagnosis. And we were so pleased with the software act provisions, which Mr. Green and I authored, being included in 21st Century Cures. And then the follow on implementation of this through the FDA, and the implementation that you at ONC are overseeing. So we’re watching that very closely because we know of the impact that has on care coordination, that it has on post-acute care, that it has on managing and following chronic conditions, and that it also has on home health. We know that this impact is going to be felt, so we thank you Dr. Rucker to give us an update,” Rep Blackburn said.
The Majority Memorandum, witness testimony, and an archived webcast are available online HERE.