Health IT Now, Bipartisan Policy Center & 40+ health IT experts call to revamp ONC

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Health IT Now and the Bipartisan Policy Center convened a work group of more than 40 health IT experts to craft a report on how to revamp industry policy, including an overhaul of ONC's health IT certification program.

The two advocacy organizations released the report, titled "The Future Role of Government in Health IT and Digital Health," Feb. 27 to highlight policy recommendations to reduce regulatory burdens associated with health IT. Work group members comprised clinicians, patients, hospital officials and technology leaders, such as John Halamka, MD, CIO of Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Adam Whitlatch, a lead developer at Epic.

"Today's highly prescriptive, inflexible, EHR-centric regulatory approach stifles, rather than stimulates, innovation," the report reads. "Public policy needs to evolve and adapt to clinical and scientific breakthroughs, as well as to advancements in digital and analytical technologies and capabilities."

To lessen existing regulatory burdens, the report indicates the federal government should reduce or eliminate select technology requirements under CMS's quality improvement, payment and delivery system reform programs and overhaul the ONC's health IT certification program to focus on consumer protections.

"CMS and ONC should continue to reexamine current health IT regulatory requirements," the report reads. "ONC should limit its role in usability to both convening and supporting the development and dissemination of standards and best practices, including those that enhance health IT usability and reduce provider burden."

However, the groups advocated for continued implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, which clarifies oversight expectations for select health IT products. The groups also called on the federal government to promote the adoption of private sector standards and fund research activities to continue to advance the field.

"Our work group has laid out a less burdensome, more rational, innovation conducive and patient friendly oversight framework that ensures the government focuses on upholding core consumer safety protections while allowing other health IT functions to rest with the private sector, where they belong," Joel White, executive director of Health IT Now, said in a Feb. 27 statement.

To access the report, click here.

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