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AMIA Shares Recommendations On Health IT-Friendly Policymaking

Posted on April 17, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

The American Medical Informatics Association has released the findings from a new paper addressing health IT policy, including recommendation on how policymakers can support patient access to health data, interoperability for clinicians and patient care-related research and innovation.

As the group accurately notes, the US healthcare system has transformed itself into a digital industry at astonishing speed, largely during the past five years. Nonetheless, many healthcare organizations haven’t unlocked the value of these new tools, in part because their technical infrastructure is largely a collection of disparate systems which don’t work together well.

The paper, which is published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, offers several policy recommendations intended to help health IT better support value-based health, care and research. The paper argues that governments should implement specific policy to:

  • Enable patients to have better access to clinical data by standardizing data flow
  • Improve access to patient-generated data compiled by mHealth apps and related technologies
  • Engage patients in research by improving ways to alert clinicians and patients about research opportunities, while seeing to it that researchers manage consent effectively
  • Enable patient participation in and contribution to care delivery and health management by harmonizing standards for various classes of patient-generated data
  • Improve interoperability using APIs, which may demand that policymakers require adherence to chosen data standards
  • Develop and implement a documentation-simplification framework to fuel an overhaul of quality measurement, ensure availability of coded EHRs clinical data and support reimbursement requirements redesign
  • Develop and implement an app-vetting process emphasizing safety and effectiveness, to include creating a knowledgebase of trusted sources, possibly as part of clinical practice improvement under MIPS
  • Create a policy framework for research and innovation, to include policies to aid data access for research conducted by HIPAA-covered entities and increase needed data standardization
  • Foster an ecosystem connecting safe, effective and secure health applications

To meet these goals, AMIA issued a set of “Policy Action Items” which address immediate, near-term and future policy initiatives. They include:

  • Clarifying a patient’s HIPAA “right to access” to include a right to all data maintained by a covered entity’s designated record set;
  • Encourage continued adoption of 2015 Edition Certified Health IT, which will allow standards-based APIs published in the public domain to be composed of standard features which can continue to be deployed by providers; and
  • Make effective Common Rule revisions as finalized in the January 19, 2017 issue of the Federal Register

In looking at this material, I noted with interest AMIA’s thinking on the appropriate premises for current health IT policy. The group offered some worthwhile suggestions on how health IT leaders can leverage health data effectively, such as giving patients easy access to their mHealth data and engaging them in the research process.

Given that they overlap with suggestions I’ve seen elsewhere, we may be getting somewhere as an industry. In fact, it seems to me that we’re approaching industry consensus on some issues which, despite seeming relatively straightforward have been the subject of professional disputes.

As I see it, AMIA stands as good a chance as any other healthcare entity at getting these policies implemented. I look forward to seeing how much progress it makes in drawing attention to these issues.

AMIA Asks NIH To Push For Research Data Sharing

Posted on January 23, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

The American Medical Informatics Association has is urging leaders at the NIH to take researchers’ data sharing plans into account when considering grant proposals.

AMIA is responding to an NIH Request for Information (topic: “Strategies for NIH Data Management, Sharing and Citation”) was published in November 2016. In the RFI, it asked for feedback on how digital scientific data generated by NIH-funded research should be managed and disclosed to the public. It also asked for input on how to set standards for citing shared data and software.

In its response, AMIA said that the agency should give researchers “institutional incentives” designed to boost data sharing and strengthen data management. Specifically, the trade group suggested that NIH make data sharing plans a “scoreable” part of grant applications.

“Data sharing has become such an important proximal output of research that we believe the relative value of a proposed project should include consideration of how its data will be shared,” AMIA said in its NIH response. “By using the peer-review process, we will make incremental improvements to interoperability, while identifying approaches to better data sharing practices over time.”

To help the agency implement this change, AMIA recommended that applicants earmark funds for data curation and sharing as part of the grants’ direct costs. Doing so will help assure that data sharing becomes part of research ecosystems.

AMIA also recommends that NIH offer rewards to scholars who either create or contribute to publicly-available datasets and software. The trade group argues that such incentives would help those who create and analyze data advance their careers. (And this, your editor notes, would help foster a virtuous cycle in which data-oriented scientists are available to foster such efforts.)

Right now, to my knowledge, few big data integration projects include the kind of front-line research data we’re talking about here.  On the other hand, while few community hospitals are likely to benefit from research data in the near term, academic medical organizations are having a bit more luck, and offer us an attractive picture of how things could be.

For example, look at this project at Vanderbilt University Medical Center which collects and manages translational and clinical research data via an interface with its EMR system.

At Vanderbilt, research data collection is integrated with clinical EMR use. Doctors there use a module within the research platform (known as REDCap) to collect data for prospective clinical studies. Once they get their research project approved, clinicians use menus to map health record data fields to REDCap. Then, REDCap automatically retrieves health record data for selected patients.

My feeling is that if NIH starts pushing grantees to share data effectively, we’ll see more projects like REDCap, and in turn, better clinical care supported by such research. It looks to me like everybody wins here. So I hope the NIH takes AMIA’s proposal seriously.

Pediatrics and EHR Incentive – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on December 3, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I know that there are a number of pediatric doctors that read EMR and HIPAA along with a number of Pediatric EHR vendors. They could likely speak to the challenge of meaningful use and the EHR incentive money in much more depth than I. In fact, I hope they will chime in with the pediatric perspective on meaningful use and EHR money in the comments. As most of you know, I’ve always seen EMR and HIPAA as a forum for great discussion.

To start the discussion of pediatrics and EHR incentive money, I came across a couple tweets from AMIA 2012 that paint a very sad picture for most pediatricians when it comes to getting government money to help with their EHR implementation.


I wish that I had all the background on this tweet. However, the message is quite clear: it will be difficult for pediatrics to qualify for the EHR incentive money.

This second tweet puts some hard numbers on the pediatricians that could qualify for meaningful use:


This isn’t such a surprise since meaningful use has always been so primary care focused. Meaningful Use has come a long way to try and include more medical specialties (see my post on radiology meaningful use), but it’s hard to change something into something it wasn’t ever intended to accomplish.

I look forward to hearing pediatricians’ experience with meaningful use in the comments.

Upcoming Healthcare IT Conferences

Posted on August 18, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Neil Versel posted a list of upcoming Healthcare IT conferences (a few aren’t just IT, but IT will be a large part of it) in the sidebar of his blog. Check out his list:

Medical Device Connectivity (Sept., Boston)
Medicine 2.0 (Sept. 17-18, Toronto)
AHIMA (Oct. 3-8, D-FW)
Health 2.0 (Oct. 6-7, SF)
MGMA (Oct. 11-14, Denver)
Connected Health Symposium (Oct., Boston)
CHIME09 (Oct., Indian Wells, Calif.)
E-Patient Connections (Oct., Phila.)
NIH mHealth Summit (Oct. 29-30, DC)
Inst. for Health Tech Transformation (Nov., LA)
AMIA (Nov. 14-18, SF)

That’s a lot of conferences. Were there any that we missed? That just goes through the end of the year. How do people stay up with all these conferences? I still haven’t made it to HIMSS, but am planning to go to Atlanta in March.

I’ve always wanted to put together my own EMR conference. Basically, just bring in a lot of really smart people to have insightful discussion about topics related to EMR. You could even bring in some EMR vendors and run them through the ringer. Maybe none of them would want to come and be held accountable for their software. However, if they did that would really say something. We could always do it on some test installs or something. Maybe the conference could put 10 EMR vendors through their paces and publish a report evaluating those 10 EMR companies. Then, that report could pay for the expenses of the conference. Who knows, I’m just thinking out loud on my blog. That’s what I love about blogs.

I’m not even sure it has to be a conference. Now that I think about it, it might be even more interesting to just bring a nice group of really smart people together to meet and discuss EMR and HIT for a day. Could produce some pretty interesting content. Plus, with a small group, you could pretty easily find a place to host the event I would think. Not to mention, I live in Las Vegas and everyone loves to come visit Las Vegas.

Back to the list above, which of the above conferences will you be attending? Are there any types of conferences that you wish were available related to EMR and HIT?