Part of moving forward and progressing with health IT initiatives involves proactively setting new goals and establishing a roadmap for the future. The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange Foundation has taken this to task by releasing its 2013 report that puts forth recommendations for the health IT industry over the next decade.
Report officials outline 10 recommendations in four critical areas of focus including patient engagement, payment models, data exchange and interoperability and innovative encounter models.
"These recommendations should serve as a catalyst and call-to-action to all stakeholders to truly help implement the health IT infrastructure that our nation will need in the future, both short-term and long-term," the report reads. "Much rides on the success of these recommendations."
Patient engagement recommendations:
- Standardize the patient identification process across the healthcare system.
- Expand Health IT education and literacy programs for consumers to encourage greater use of Health IT, with a goal of achieving better care management and overall wellness.
- Identify and promote effective and actionable electronic approaches to patient information capture, maintenance, and secure and appropriate access that leverage mobile devices and smart technologies and applications.
Payment models recommendation:
- Develop a framework for assessing critical, core attributes of alternative payment models -- such as connectivity, eligibility/enrollment reconciliation, payment reconciliation, quality reporting and care coordination data exchange, and education -- and the technology solutions that can mitigate barriers to implementation.
Data harmonization & exchange recommendations:
- Identify and promote consistent and efficient methods for electronic reporting of quality and health status measures across all stakeholders, including public health, with initial focus on recipients of quality measure information.
- Identify and promote methods and standards for healthcare information exchange that would enhance care coordination.
- Identify methods and standards for harmonizing clinical and administrative information reporting that reduce data collection burden, support clinical quality improvement, contribute to public and population health and accommodate new payment models.
Innovative encounter models recommendations:
- Identify use cases, conventions and operating standards for promoting consumer health and exchange of telehealth information in a mobile environment.
- Facilitate adoption and implementation of "best-in-class" approaches that promote growth and diffusion of innovative encounters across the marketplace and that demonstrate value for patients, providers and payers.
- Identify existing or proposed federal or state-based laws or regulations that create barriers to the implementation of innovative encounters (including licensure).
Louis W. Sullivan, MD, who first launched the annual report back in 1993, says the recommendations will ultimately result in greater efficiency and improved healthcare delivery down the road. "I regarded the implementation of the 1993 WEDI Report roadmap as a civic duty for its time, and it is my hope that the healthcare industry will adopt that same spirit for the 2013 WEDI Report recommendations," Sullivan said in a press release announcing the report release.