National Initiatives

There is currently a great deal of activity on the national level to promote EHR adoption, interoperability and standardization. Some of these initiatives are listed below.

Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and Other Recently Funded Federal HIT Initiatives
ARRA provides for approximately $19 billion in new spending in Health Information Technology.  A significant portion of this will go towards incentives for Medicare physicians using an EHR in a meaningful way, starting in 2011.  Starting in 2015, reimbursement rates will be reduced for physicians who are not using electronic health records.  Click the link above for more information from APA and click here to access the official Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services EHR incentive page.

Health IT Website
An overview of Health Information Technology efforts throughout the federal government.

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
This office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, led by Farzad Mostashari, M.D., “is the principal Federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts related to the implementation and use of electronic health information exchange.” It is funding and directing several initiatives, and is initiating new activity with approximately $2 billion in new funding as a result of ARRA.

Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT)
CCHIT is “a private nonprofit organization with the sole public mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology by creating a credible, efficient certification process.”  The group is currently developing certification criteria for behavioral health settings, as well as behavioral health-specific certification criteria for software designated for ambulatory settings. 

Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN)
“The Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) is a set of standards, services and policies that enable the secure exchange of health information over the internet."  The goal is to provide a secure, nationwide, interoperable health information infrastructure that will connect providers, consumers, and others involved in supporting health and healthcare. This critical part of the national health IT agenda will enable health information to follow the consumer, be available for clinical decision making, and support appropriate use of healthcare information beyond direct patient care so as to improve health.”

Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC)
This ONC contract awardee was charged with “implementing a process to facilitate the assessment of variation in business policies and practices regarding the privacy and security of health information exchange by individual states and territories. The goal was to develop a process that will allow states to identify and resolve barriers to health information exchange on a nationwide basis.”  There are several reports and resources from this effort on the project website.

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program
These two CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) quality improvement programs provide the opportunity for incentives for participation.  PQRS offers incentives to Medicare providers who report on quality performance measures.  The e-prescribing program offers incentives to clinicians who use a qualified e-prescribing system.  Participation in both programs involves the reporting of designated administrative codes on billing claims.