If CIOs were lawmakers: 4 CIOs' most-desired regulatory changes

Many of CIOs' major projects and must-dos have been decided in Washington, D.C. From meaningful use to ICD-10 to HIPAA security requirements, federal regulations are an inescapable part of any CIOs' job.

Below, four CIOs share what regulatory change they would make if given the authority.

Charles E. Christian. Vice President and CIO of St. Francis Hospital (Columbus, Ga.): In looking at the healthcare enterprise as it exists today and the very real need to ensure that the information we're providing to our physicians and other clinicians is accurate and timely, the one thing that, in my honest opinion, would be of most benefit is a standard process/procedure for positive patient identification. 

You can call it patient matching or patient identifier, it doesn't matter; what does matter is that when that patient is being treated, the individuals providing that care must have the correct information about their allergies, current medications and past medical history. There is as much danger in errors of commission as there are in errors of omission. With the heterogeneous information sources growing each day, having a method of positive patient identification falls in the category of patient safety.

Edith Dees. Vice President and CIO of Holy Spirit Health System (Camp Hill, Pa.): Be more prescriptive in interoperability details. Given the timeframe for [meaningful use] stage 2, first year, we are up against the wall negotiating between vendors [about] who will accept responsibility to make the required changes to enable connectivity. Both vendors are certified, but one of them has to provide customization in order to send/receive required files between the two.

For example, one of our current sticking points is patient phone number[s]. One vendor uses a 2007 field standard and the other a 2014 standard. To resolve this impasse, we determined that our best course is to wait for one of the vendors to upgrade their certified system to accept the current standard. Either way, we further jeopardize our ability to attest.

Ferdinand Feola. CIO of Pocono Health System (East Stroudsburg, Pa.): Create national standard interoperability and technical specifications that all vendors, health systems and providers would be required to adhere to. The standards would need national governance based on clinical standards, subject matter expert input and [would] still have the agility to embrace changes in clinical protocols and necessitated quality metrics.

Michael McTigue. Vice President and Affiliate CIO of Barnabas Health (Livingston, N.J.): Stop the electronic medical record vendors from gauging physician offices with cost to connect to other repositories.

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