ACC Testifies on Health Information Blocking at Senate HELP Committee Hearing

Heart of Health Policy | In July, Michael J. Mirro, MD, FACC, testified at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) hearing titled "Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions." Mirro, a member of the ACC's Informatics and Health Information Technology (IT) Task Force, shared cardiology's perspective on the important issue of health information blocking, unforeseen problems that have been created by electronic health records (EHRs), and possible solutions to help improve care.

Michael J. Mirro, MD, FACC

During his testimony, Mirro stressed that transparency of additional (or hidden) fees within EHR vendor contracts should be evaluated; data fluidity should mean not only that information reaches the provider, but that the data is transmitted quickly and securely; EHR vendors' products should be universal and connect to other EHRs offered by different companies; and health IT vendors and providers should be incentivized to establish networks for patients to monitor their devices, empowering them to actively participate in their health decisions.

"Rapid, secure exchange of health information is critical and in some cases can mean the difference between a patient living and dying," Mirro underscored to the Committee.

Mirro also echoed ACC's earlier recommendation that Meaningful Use Stage 3 be delayed in its entirety, especially since only 11 percent of physicians have attested to Stage 2. "The HITECH Act, along with implementation of the Meaningful Use Program, has improved data sharing and data liquidity. With that stated, the unintended consequence of Meaningful Use is that systems were designed to facilitate charge capture and revenue cycle management and focus less on clinical data and usability," he said. "Although the Meaningful Use program has brought favorable results within the context of data transfer, many of the requirements set forth in the program are unattainable." In a press conference following the hearing, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced they are officially asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to delay Stage 3.

ACC Advocacy has been working hard to elevate the health IT concerns of ACC members on Capitol. This testimony is one part of a multi-pronged strategy to ensure that the ACC is a leader in the discussion on the success of EHRs.

Keywords: Electronic Health Records, Meaningful Use, Medical Informatics, United States Dept. of Health and Human Services

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