Jonathan Bush, AMIA and 4 more health IT stakeholders react to HHS' interoperability rule

Jonathan Bush, executive chairman of Firefly Health, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and the American Medical Informatics Association are some of the latest health IT executives and organizations to publicly speak out about HHS' proposed interoperability rule.

The stakeholders join organizations including Epic and Cerner, which have expressed their opposition and support of the proposed rules, respectively. To view theirs along with five other stakeholders' reactions previously reported by Becker's Hospital Review, click here

The regulations, which are currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget and are expected to be finalized later this month, would require the health IT industry to adopt application programming interfaces to help patients more easily access their health data.

Here are reactions from six more health IT executives, companies and organizations about the rules:

1. HHS Secretary Alex Azar. During the 2020 ONC Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, Mr. Azar highlighted the goal of the proposed interoperability rules, which is to improve patients' and providers' access to electronic health records. He said HHS will pursue both the goal of patient empowerment as well as patient privacy regarding expanding data sharing abilities.

Addressing some of the pushback the rules have received, Mr. Azar said: "Unfortunately, some are defending the balkanized, outdated status quo and fighting our proposals fiercely. I want to be quite clear: Patients need and deserve control over their records; interoperability is the single biggest step we can take toward that goal."

2. Jonathan Bush. As a proponent for HHS' proposed interoperability rules, Mr. Bush told Politco last week that Epic's opposition to the rules is "indisputably cynical." While the EHR giant has attributed its lack of support of the rules to privacy concerns relating to third-party use of patient data, Mr. Bush said the regulations would introduce data-sharing opportunities for patients to send their medical data to new tech services that can "aggregate data and recognize patterns in a way that health systems can't."

3. Masimo. Joe Kiani, CEO of the medica device manufacturer, said he supports patients' ability to control their own medical information and that they should be able to "make the tradeoff between what's more important: privacy or having their data available in a way that can hopefully save their lives."

4. AMIA, AAFP. The AMIA American Academy of Family Physicians are among 30 healthcare organizations and IT companies that sent a letter on Jan. 30 to HHS and the Office of Management and Budget urging officials to swiftly release the finalized version of the interoperability rules. Other organizations that signed the letter include Apple, Microsoft, IBM and ATA for telehealth.

5. Kenneth Mandl, MD, and Isaac Kohane, MD. In a Jan. 27 op-ed for STAT, Drs. Mandl and Kohane argued that Epic's stance against HHS' proposed data sharing rule threatens "the fundamental need for interoperability in healthcare." Dr. Mandl serves as director of Boston Children's Hospital's computational health informatics program and Dr. Kohane is chair of Harvard Medical School's biomedical informatics department.

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