HHS' FY2014-2018 Strategic Plan Prioritizes Meaningful Use of EHRs

On Friday, HHS released its fiscal years 2014-2018 strategic plan, which highlights the meaningful use of health IT as a way to improve population health and health care outcomes, Clinical Innovation & Technology reports.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers that demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
Health IT Components of Strategic Plan
HHS in the plan said that the meaningful use of health IT "offers a range of potential benefits, including improved care coordination, fewer medical errors and improved health care quality, reduced health care costs, support for reformed payment structures and improved population health."
The plan outlined several strategies to realize such benefits, including:

  • Using incentives, certification, technical assistance and grants to help spur the adoption of health IT across the health care industry;
  • Boosting the public's awareness of the value of health IT;
  • Expanding telemedicine technologies;
  • Supporting value-based models through the use of health IT; and
  • Bolstering the security and privacy of electronic health data.

In addition, HHS outlined three performance goals related to health IT, including:

  • Increasing the number of public health agencies that are equipped to receive meaningful use-compliant lab reports and messages from hospitals' certified EHR technology;
  • Increasing the number of primary care physicians who use EHR technology; and
  • Identifying three design principles that health IT designers can use to improve the management of health information (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 3/19).

According to the plan, "This combination of better data through health IT and smarter incentives through delivery reform is foundational to HHS' triple aim of improving health care quality, improving population health, and reducing unnecessary health care costs" (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 3/17).
Source: iHealthBeat, Thursday, March 20, 2014

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