- CMS on Thursday debuted a free public database aimed at supporting interoperable exchange of electronic health information when and where it is needed.
- The Data Element Library, or DEL, lets users see the specific types of personal health data CMS requires long-term and post-acute care facilities to collect as part of their patient assessments.
- The DEL also brings health IT standards that support the collection of health information into a centralized resource, making it easier for health IT vendors to build them into EHR products intended for PAC use.
Long term post-acute care providers must collect a range of patient data, including demographics, patient medical history and health evaluations. These are then integrated into EHRs, where they are used to measure and improve care quality and support payment by CMS. Many have been standardized to increase interoperability between disparate systems.
The goal is to create a seamless flow of information between facilities, such as when a patient moves from rehabilitation hospital to skilled nursing facility and eventually home care.
That is far from the case now, according to providers.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement that the initiative "aligns with MyHealthEData, a governmentwide effort strengthening the interoperability of health information," and also a paperwork reduction effort "focused on reducing administrative burden and costs while improving care coordination, outcomes and patients’ ability to make decisions about their own care.”
The DEL is part of the broader MyHealthEData effort underway at CMS, the Veterans Administration and National Institutes of Health.
During HIMSS18, Verma announced an array of initiatives to boost interoperability among EHRs and PHRs and give patients greater control over their health record, including overhauling the PHR used by Medicare beneficiaries known as Blue Button 2.0. She said CMS will serve as the focal point to nurture open source standards-based APIs.
CMS has received mostly praise for the MyHealthEData initiative. However, in an article for Forbes, former Vice President Joe Biden chided the agency for moving too slowly on interoperability of health records and said the EHR revamp lacked specific actions for implementation.