CMS Wants Interoperability. Should Patient Data Access Champions Cheer – or Not? – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on June 12, 2018 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.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 6/15 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Janice McCallum (@janicemccallum) on the topic of “CMS Wants Interoperability. Should Patient Data Access Champions Cheer – or Not?.”

Earlier this year at HIMSS18 and HealthDataPalooza, Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, announced the MyHealthEData initiative that places a priority on interoperability of EHRs, a long desired objective of health data enthusiasts.

The MyHealthEData initiative proposes open APIs with common data standards that will facilitate access to EHR data for software developers, although the business terms for accessing the data aren’t yet clear. In today’s #HITsm chat, I’d like to focus on how the MyHealthEData initiative will—or will not– benefit patients directly. I have more questions than answers and look forward to input from a range of healthIT and data management experts, patient data access advocates, innovation enthusiasts, and more.

First, some background materials:

This is the official announcement of MyHealthEData: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2018-Press-releases-items/2018-03-06.html.  Note, the initiative is not intended to give consumers direct access to their data from their healthcare providers; rather, it gives them the ability to choose a “provider that best meets their needs and then give that provider secure access to their data, leading to greater competition and reducing costs. ” In this case, “provider” means a technology provider that will likely charge an initial fee and an ongoing fee for data management.

From ONC director, Don Rucker on interoperability, transparency and an API ecosystem: https://www.healthit.gov/buzz-blog/interoperability/apis-path-putting-patients-center/

Adrian Gropper, MD, in a comment on Rucker’s post on the Health Care Blog, questions whether patient-friendly and cost-effective developers will have full access to APIs:

The issue is fairly simple and was well documented by the API Task Force: Can a small, independent startup serving patients or physicians have access to the FHIR API if the patient says it should – period? http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2018/04/24/apis-a-path-to-putting-patients-at-the-center/

Finally, some insights from the current state of the Apple Health app that may give us reason to question how quickly something close to full data access and ongoing data liquidity will occur: https://corepointhealth.com/apple-health-fhir

Join me for this week’s #HITsm chat. Let’s start the conversation.

T1 : Does anyone see any downside to the latest data and API standards? Is anything missing from CMS announcements and fact sheets? Or, should we all be cheering? #HITsm

T2: Health IT vendors that focus on patient engagement and patient data management should be happy about MyHealthEData. Who among the existing patient data app developers do you think will benefit most from an API ecosystem? Who might be hurt? #HITsm

T3: Do you think patient access to full health records will be more affordable due to MyHealthEData? #HITsm

T4: How long do you think it will take to make the apps useful to patients with complex conditions, given the current state of data availability via Apple Health app and early patient portals? #HITsm

T5: What’s the likely business model for the app developers? #HITsm
Here are some possibilities to discuss:
(1) app developers charge low price to patients; revenue will come from businesses that want to buy access to aggregate data.
2) Full fee paid by patients.
3) An advertising model?
4) Access to app is given as a benefit to existing customers, e.g., Google can afford to offer app for free/low cost to existing customers, because it sells other services; health insurers can subsidize costs to incentivize patients to better manage their health status via health data apps.
5) Other revenue/business models?

Bonus: How do you think healthcare providers will react to the requirement that they “ensure data sharing”? How will it affect small physician practices v. hospitals? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
6/22 – IT and Affordability, Care for the Poor, Population Health in Low-income Areas
Hosted by Lenny Liebmann (@LennyLiebmann)

6/29 – How Nursing Informatics is Changing the Healthcare Landscape
Hosted by Cathy Turner (@MEDITECH_Nurses) and Ashley Dauwer (@amariedauwer) from @MEDITECH

7/6 – What’s the Future of Patient Communication?
Hosted by Lea Chatham (@LeaChatham)

7/13 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

7/20 – TBD
Hosted by Jared Jeffery (@Jk_Jeffery)

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.