Electronic Health Records: HHS Strategy to Address Information Exchange Challenges Lacks Specific Prioritized Actions and Milestones

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Providers and stakeholders GAO interviewed in four states with ongoing electronic health information exchange efforts cited key challenges to exchange, in particular, issues related to insufficient standards, concerns about how privacy rules can vary among states, difficulties in matching patients to their records, and costs associated with exchange. Officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)—agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—noted that they have several ongoing programs and ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 24, 2014.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Providers and stakeholders GAO interviewed in four states with ongoing electronic health information exchange efforts cited key challenges to exchange, in particular, issues related to insufficient standards, concerns about how privacy rules can vary among states, difficulties in matching patients to their records, and costs associated with exchange. Officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)—agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—noted that they have several ongoing programs and initiatives to help address some aspects of these key challenges, but concerns in these areas continue to exist. For example, several providers GAO interviewed said that they have difficulty exchanging certain types of health information due to insufficient health data standards. Although HHS has begun to address insufficiencies in standards through its Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) programs, such as through the introduction of new 2014 standards for certified EHR technology, it is unclear whether its efforts will lead to widespread improvements in electronic health information exchange. In addition, providers GAO interviewed reported challenges covering costs associated with electronic exchange, such as upfront costs associated with purchasing and implementing EHR systems. While HHS is working to address this challenge through various efforts, including a program that helps fund health information exchange organizations—organizations that provide support to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information—some providers told GAO they do not participate in these organizations because they see limited opportunities for exchanging information through them."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 24, 2014

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Electronic Health Records: HHS Strategy to Address Information Exchange Challenges Lacks Specific Prioritized Actions and Milestones, report, March 24, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299342/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.