- CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have published a Health IT Playbook to help physician and other clinicians assess their needs and navigate the electronic heath record market.
- In addition, CMS and ONC released an EHR contracting guide to assist hospitals and providers in negotiating terms that don’t hamper the usefulness of their EHR systems.
- The two resources will help not only to ensure a more interoperable flow of health information but also the Obama administration’s goal of increasing health system efficiencies, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and ONC chief Vindell Washington wrote Monday in The Health Care Blog.
“Quite simply, our health care system cannot realize the promise of EHRs if information cannot flow across practices — and to and from patients — easily and in a cost-effective manner,” Slavitt and Washington wrote.
Information on how to select the right EHR for a hospital or practice can be can be hard to find, and EHR contracts can lead to data blocking and other practices that inhibit EHR utility, the authors say.
The contracting guide will help providers learn what questions to ask when choosing an EHR and how to convey their specific needs and requirements to potential vendors. It also discusses data blocking techniques, such as connection fees and limits to data exchange and sharing information about EHR performance. And it offers strategies for negotiating the terms of an EHR contract and tips on how to maximize workflow and patient care during EHR implementation.
Using the guide, along with the Health IT Playbook, will put providers on a more even playing field with EHR vendors, the authors say. This could help improve physicians' satisfaction with the EHRs they adopt.