Weekly Healthcare Roundup: September 11-17

Weekly Healthcare Roundup: September 11-17

On the heels of the news about MACRA’s new options, there has been some renewed interest in transforming healthcare from a federal level. This week, the nation’s first chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra shared an optimistic view about electronic health records and interoperability. Chopra believes “healthcare’s data revolution has arrived” according to his interview with Politico.

Here’s what we’re reading:

US CTO OPTIMISTIC ABOUT INTEROPERABILITY – Aneesh Chopra, a former Obama administration official explained his view on the current state of health IT. Chopra is a proponent of making government data more open to patients, innovators, and others in the healthcare industry. In an interview with Politico, he enthusiastically talked about why he believes the heatlhcare industry is finally answering the call for interoperability. Despite the HHS’ mixed record on open data and unsuccessful previous attempts at interoperability Chopra thinks we’re “on our way to greater places.” Here’s how we think interoperability can be fixed.

HITECH ACT’S BIGGEST FLAW – Speaking of interoperability, two policy researchers recently released a report that found that a lack of interoperability was a “critical weakness” of 2009’s HITECH Act. The researchers added that health IT can’t be fixed until there is more public investment in health IT and more specifically, its efforts toward improving care quality and reducing costs.

CAN EHRs PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO SUICIDE RISK? – A handful of new studies that explored the possibility of utilizing data easily accessible via EHRs to model suicidal behaviors. One of these papers, published in JAMA Psychiatry, shows how patients are at a higher risk of suicide after hospital discharge, meaning that post-discharge interventions could be effective. The other researchers used claims data to find trends between billing codes and suicides. Consequently, these researchers believe their studies point to technology playing a role in reducing suicides. Moreover, they envision an alert system in which high-risk patients can be targeted within EHR systems.

WE’RE NOT DONE WITH MACRA YET – If you thought CMS’s latest announcement about MACRA was its last — think again. In just over a month, by November 1, CMS plans to release the final rule. This rule is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget and could include supporting details that were left out of the most recent announcement. CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt left open the possibility that more changes were to come in terms of the shift toward value-based payments and that the intended start date for the program, currently January 1, 2017, could be pushed back.

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Read more Weekly Healthcare Roundups here: July 17-23, August 1-6, and Aungust 7-13.