CMS shares plan for advancing value-based care and interoperability

Focusing on the patient’s needs is paramount for value-based care to truly be effective. That was a significant point delivered by CMS Administrator Seema Verma at the HIMSS18 Conference in March 2018. In addition to discussing interoperability and technological advances, Verma said, “I’ve always been struck by how seldom the patient is mentioned in discussions around value-based care. Let me be clear, we will not achieve value-based care until we put the patient at the center of our healthcare system.”

Interoperability plays a huge role in enabling patients to be at the center of their own healthcare. Although electronic health records (EHRs) improve the efficiency of an independent physician’s practice, enabling the physician to easily access and input medical data, and providing the patient with electronic  communication tools, the EHR systems of multiple practices must be set up for interoperability to ensure the patient’s records are complete, current, accurate, and that all records are accessible by the patient as well as the independent physician.

Verma stated that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is launching the MyHealthEData Initiative, “a government-wide initiative that will break down the barriers that contribute to preventing patients from being able to access and control their medical records.” Verma further elaborated that “Patients need to be able to control their information and know that it’s secure and private. Having access to their medical information will help them make decisions about their care, and have a better understanding of their health.”

Verma also announced that CMS would “overhaul the documentation requirements of Evaluation and Management codes to make it easier for providers to use their EHRs. These are the codes that doctors use to bill Medicare for patient visits.”

Part of the goal of the new plans outlined at the conference is to help reduce healthcare costs, which are increasing for independent physicians and their patients. Streamlining practice operations and providing higher quality care to patients will contribute to reduced cost and improved, value-based care.