Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

Policy & Regulation News

MACRA Must Do More to Promote Health Data Interoperability

According to WEDI, the MACRA law must create better incentives to boost health data interoperability.

- MACRA requires more provisions to facilitate health data interoperability and the secure exchange of health information, says the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI).

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In a comments letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), WEDI’s Payment Model Workgroup explained that the law needs to go further in promoting health data interoperability.

According to an organization press release, WEDI said that CMS needs to add incentives to MACRA that will encourage health IT developers to create and providers to rely on interoperable health technologies, which will ultimately yield favorable results.

“WEDI’s Payment Model Workgroup is very enthusiastic about the opportunity MACRA implementation presents to accomplish the goals of CMS, payers, eligible clinicians, technology vendors, and so many others,” said Charles W. Stellar, president and CEO of WEDI, in the press release. “The use of incentives and enabling technology to improve quality and promote smart spending in healthcare is crucial as we all work to create significant advancement in value-based reimbursement.”

In addition to calling on more robust incentives to boost health data interoperability, WEDI’s comments included the following:

1. WEDI supports advancing effective, efficient and secure interoperability of clinical and administrative healthcare information and encourages CMS, in the final rule, to adopt measures that achieve those broad goals.

2. The proposed rule outlines the process that eligible clinicians and groups would implement in order to submit data and performance measures for MIPS. CMS should ensure that the MIPS reporting process is simple to understand, conducive to automated reporting and clinically relevant. WEDI also supports the potential use of clinical data registries to report clinical data.

3. WEDI is concerned with the proposed timeline set forth for providers to implement MIPS.

WEDI encourages the establishment of an appropriate implementation timeline that meets the need of program participants and their vendor partners.

4. WEDI recognizes and agrees that both health IT developers and health IT vendors will play a critical role in keeping with the spirit of the regulation.

5. WEDI encourages additional industry input in order to identify appropriate APMs to support the intent of the MACRA legislation.

6. WEDI encourages the standards developers to introduce accelerated cycle times for updating standards, especially new and modified standards required to support automation of quality reporting along with incorporating a degree of flexibility to accommodate the needs of a rapidly changing health IT landscape.

In addition to submitting the comments letter, WEDI’s Payment Model Workgroup said it plans to issue a report on MIPS and the Alternative Payment Models to help industry professionals prepare for the shift.

Earlier this week, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) also issued comments on MACRA calling on CMS to better recognize the importance of medical informatics and technology in improving the healthcare system.

“AMIA believes CMS has an unprecedented opportunity to learn which components of these legacy programs will effectively support our healthcare system in moving toward the triple aim, and we strongly recommend that CMS engage medical informatics expertise more broadly to understand how technology should be leveraged to improve care experience, efficacy, and reduce unnecessary expense,” wrote AMIA President & CEO Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD, and Board Chair Thomas Payne, MD.

In its letter, AMIA specifically references health data interoperability, saying that MACRA must encourage data exchange and interoperability wherever possible.

“CMS should work with its federal agency partners to identify technical standards that would facilitate the exchange of information between third party intermediaries,” AMIA wrote.

Because improved health data interoperability enables so many aspects of healthcare improvement, including patient-centered care and care coordination, it is vital that payment models, like MACRA and MIPS, facilitate interoperability.

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