HCA Offers Comments on State HIT Plan

The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) posted their draft of the state Health IT plan, a roadmap meant to guide Massachusetts towards establishing electronic health records (EHRs), and are accepting comments until February 16.

MeHI was recently designated by the Governor as the Regional Extension Center (REC) for the state. The REC, according to their website, “provides direct assistance and best practice tools to assist health care providers, especially primary care providers, in their meaningful adoption of EHRs.”

The Alliance suggests home care and home health agencies offer comments on the plan so that the industry can be more involved in the implementation process.

Here are the comments, by section, offered by HCA:

Section 1: Executive Summary
In improving “person focused” health care (Goal 1), improving the quality and safety of health care across all providers, and having that quality of care be consistent and predictable (Goal 2), home health should be looked upon to more effectively achieve that mission. The involvement of home health would further improve the efficiencies in HIT that will slow the growth of health care spending (Goal 3).

We agree and support that interoperable health records (strategy 3) should be in all clinical settings and while 40 percent of providers use EHR’s, the number goes above 75 to 80 percent when dealing with home health agencies in Massachusetts.

Home health would also serve as an asset in supporting care coordination, patient engagement and population health (strategy 4).

Section 2: Intro
Typo under future state regarding prescriptions and refills.

Section 3: Multi-Stakeholder Governance
Under the graphic of how Ad Hoc Workgroups participate in the decision making process (Figure 3.2), we hope that the workgroups will recognize home health as an “option for MeHI to pursue” and that we will be identified as a gap “in knowledge or representation.”

Section 4: Establish a Privacy Framework to Guide the Devlopment of a Secure HIT Environment
Meaningful use care goals are reflected in home health. For instance, clinical decision support, enhanced care coordination and exchanging meaningful information across the health care team are a few areas of expertise for home health.

Section 5. Implement Interoperable Electronic Health Records in all Clinical Settings and Assure They Are Used to Optimize Care
Since hospitals and doctors are priority providers, other providers could be a part of the loan program to jump-start their involvement.

Section 6. Develop and Implement a Statewide HIE to Support Care Coordination, Patient Engagement and Population Health
Home health may not be involved in an HIE, but the experience of home health agencies’ use of EHR’s could also be looked to for lessons and guidance.

Section 7. Create a Local Workforce to Support HIT Related Initiatives
No Comments

Section 8. Monitor Success
No Comments

Section 9. Path Forward
No Comments
Appendix A: Terms and Definitions
No Comments

Appendix B: Additional Services Considered for the Statewide HIE
No Comments

General Comments
Realizing that home health is not a “priority provider,” and knowing that all provider types will eventually be roped in, I tried not to belabor each individual section with ties to how home health should be included.

The state plan has to follow certain guidelines set by the ONC, but it is our hope that home health will be among the next round of providers that are implemented. With that said, we support the vision of implementing Health IT in all clinical settings (pg 32) for the purpose of better patient self-management.

Thank you for taking and considering our comments.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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