AMA worried about ONC 'gap'

'Without widespread interoperability, the value proposition of EHRs has not been realized.'
By Bernie Monegain
10:27 AM

The American Medical Association released a statement Monday that points to the organization's concern over the recent departure of key leaders from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The ONC exits most recently include the coordinator herself, Karen DeSalvo, MD.

"The American Medical Association understands that Karen DeSalvo is leaving her post as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to do important work in public health," said AMA President Robert Wah, MD, in the statement.

[See also: DeSalvo drafted to tackle Ebola.]

"DeSalvo's departure, in addition to those of several other senior staff including the Deputy Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Jacob Reider, which was also announced last week, leaves a significant leadership gap which could jeopardize the growing momentum around interoperability," Wah noted.

"Interoperability and data portability are critical components for transforming clinical practice and improving health outcomes," he added. "Evidence of that connection can be found in the Administration's new Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, which supports coordinated care and collaboration among physicians that require high-performing technological systems.

Wah called attention to the challenges physicians are facing with "poor performing electronic health records that are not interoperable. "Without widespread interoperability, the value proposition of EHRs has not been realized and the adoption of new innovative models of care has been hindered," he said.

[See also: AMA presses for better EHRs.]

"The AMA has been calling on ONC to make the Meaningful Use certification requirements more flexible so that vendors have more freedom to innovate and tailor their products to meet physicians' needs. We recently released a Meaningful Use Blueprint to outline ways to improve Stages 1 and 2 of the program and provide suggestions for Stage 3, as well as a framework outlining eight priorities for more usable EHRs."

[See also: Coalition presses HHS for MU fix.]

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