ONC’s Perspective on Optimization of Health Information Technology

Date: 09.27.2013 | Zach Urbina">Zach Urbina

David Muntz, Principal Deputy National Coordinator, Office of the National Coordinator, ONC, DHHS

Mr. Muntz discussed the current and future state of Meaningful Use, and what we all should be doing to promote the optimization of Health Information Technology

David Muntz began his presentation by addressing concerns about the sustainability of the many changes to healthcare IT that are already underway.  He laid out the current environment of healthcare IT implementation which include ICD-10 roll out, Meaningful Use 1 & 2, Business Continuity,  Post-Implementation Optimization, Talent Shortages, among other pressing topics & areas of concern.

The first areas highlighted in Muntz’s talk were opportunities, focus, and perseverance.  He pointed out the number of eligible professionals and hospitals registered to achieve Meaningful Use of electronic health records. More than 300,000 unique eligible professionals and hospitals have received payments though the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive program, reported Muntz.  The total payments to all eligible providers thus far came to $16.1 billion.

Muntz expressed gratitude for the work that healthcare professionals have so far completed changing over from paper health records into electronic health records.

Next up were the primary concerns that ONC has heard, including physicians and hospitals requesting more time to satisfy Meaningful Use stages 2 and 3. Other conerns that were covered in Muntz’s keynote included breaking the 5% patient engagement barrier, moving beyond data segmentation, and finding appropriate quality measure reporting strategies.

What’s going to happen beyond stage 3 of Meaningful Use? Was a question that Muntz reported being asked. He hinted at a global EHR program, but declined to go into specifics as to how that might be undertaken and achieved by ONC.

Muntz reported that the number of EHR vendors have grown from 200 to more than 1,000.  He highlighted some of the challenges in appropriate billing and dealing with certain vendors whose businesses might not survive beyond government support.

Looking ahead, Muntz envisioned a moment of true synchonicity between providers and patients.  Also highlighted was the need to remain focused on the patient when entering electronic data.

Engaging, empowering, and becoming partners with patients was a goal specifically underscored by Muntz.

Allowing stakeholders to adjust to the changing environment was seen as critical to success in the health IT landscape.  Muntz presented change management tips including precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

Muntz shared one of his guiding principles, developed during his time as a CIO:

“My organization deliberately manages data across the enterprise…. The technologies and approaches that we’re using to solve problems for big data can be applied to data regardless of the size of the set.”

Muntz rounded out the end of his talk by again expressing his gratitude, reminding attendees that their efforts to implement health IT technologies and capabilities are indeed making a substantial difference in the health care landscape.

The floor was then opened to questions from attendees.

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