Slavitt: It's time to release data, change incentives and create 'core' standards

At Health Datapalooza 2016, the CMS acting administrator said it’s time to do away with data silos and begin shifting the focus toward patient-centered care
By Jessica Davis
11:04 AM

"With respect to some business practices: It's time to lead, follow or get out of the way," CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said at the 2016 Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C.

"If you want to lead the way with innovations that help consumers, great; if you want to follow by using established standards for data and measurement and technology, also great," he added. "If you have a business model which relies on silo-ing data, not using standards or not allowing data to follow the needs of patients – pick a new business model or pick a new business."

On the heels of the April announcement of the proposed MACRA ruling, Slavitt spoke to healthcare innovators, industry leaders and developers early Tuesday evening. And while he had no further news to share with the specifics of the proposal, it was clear his intentions were firm.

"What Vice President Biden said should stick with us: As taxpayers, we did not spend $35 billion so companies could build their own silos," Slavitt said. "At this stage, there's no room for business practices that don’t match the need of patients."

On the forefront of Slavitt's thoughts were patients with the least access to care and an "obsession with a plight of the independent physician."

However, "physicians are baffled by what feels like the 'physician data paradox.' They're overloaded on data entry and yet rampantly under-informed," Slavitt said. And the majority of providers are seeing a chasm between the time needed to invest in making the IT work and the actual positive results within their practices.

"Technology isn’t doing the things we know it can," he added. "Help us make smarter decisions, reduce our wasted time, help us communicate or understand what to expect next."

While these issues are troubling, according to Slavitt, the solution isn't the need for more IT inventions. But rather five crucial steps to initiate change in the healthcare industry: the massive release of data; changing incentives to reward providers for patient outcomes; creating "core" quality measures across all payers; advancing interoperability; and the proposed replacement of meaningful use.

"These steps are designed to make it easier for you to innovate, to open up competition and to move the focus from designing around regulations, to allowing you to design around patients’ and physicians’ needs," Slavitt said. "The opportunity for you to transform healthcare into an information industry has never been more ripe or more urgent."

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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