The nation’s largest physician organization has unveiled its plan to help doctors implement the changes required to unlock innovation and promote the adoption of new health information technologies.

Speaking at a HIMSS15 Innovation Symposium in Chicago on Sunday, American Medical Association President Robert Wah, M.D., argued that the digital transformation of medicine is entering a new phase in which doctors will assume a greater role in driving the changes necessary to move technological innovations forward. In a keynote session, entitled Failure with a Capital “F” May Just Mean “Finally”, Wah made the case that medicine is starting the third phase of the digitization of medicine.

Also See: AMA-Led Coalition Calls for ICD-10 Transition Contingency Plans

While the first phase of digital healthcare involved the shift from paper to digital platforms and the second phase involved networking information and interoperability, the third phase of digital health involves the analysis of data. “What we’ll see emerging in the third phase are new capabilities to analyze digital data that will provide insights for efficient, high-quality care Wah told the
HIMSS audience.

“In these rapidly changing times in healthcare, we will need agile technology to adapt and succeed,” he asserted. “To harness these capabilities, physicians are leading new approaches for delivery and payment of medical services, and challenging regulatory barriers holding back the promise of information technology in healthcare.”

However, Wah warned that new technologies alone without the active engagement of physicians are not sufficient to meaningfully change healthcare. To help physicians harness innovation and use it in their practices, AMA has developed what the group says are “proactive reforms” in three key areas:

*Transforming electronic health record technology into the patient-focused tool it was always meant to be.

*Expanding the reach of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring technology to connect patients to their doctors.

*Applying lessons learned from the current regulatory framework to unlock innovation and the adoption of new technologies.

“When physicians, policymakers, vendors and technology innovators work together, the power of technology can enhance patient care, improve productivity and efficiency and slow the rise in health care costs,” according to Wah.

In related news, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on Friday released a report to Congress detailing how electronic health information blocking is interfering with the exchange and use of information to improve outcomes, as well as strategies to address the problem. In the report, ONC says that it “believes that information blocking is best addressed through a combination of targeted actions aimed at deterring and remedying information blocking, and broader strategies and approaches that engage the larger context in which information blocking occurs.” The report lays out actions that the agency is currently taking or has proposed to take, coordinating with other federal agencies, to target and address information blocking.

While AMA is “pleased” that ONC is addressing the challenges of sharing data such as the cost and technological barriers to information exchange, the physician group said it has “concerns” with some of the solutions recommended in ONC’s report to Congress.

“We simply do not support the notion of further tying physician payments or their participation in Medicare to activities outside their control,” said Steven J. Stack, M.D. “Data sharing happens every day through the collaboration of physicians, patients, and their care givers. As physicians transition to value- based payment models, they will require better technology and standards that enable data exchange and care coordination.”

"We do not believe ONC should be the driving force in the creation of a national health information exchange governance framework,” added Stack. “Many of the challenges raised in this report can be mitigated by allowing current industry efforts to flourish.”

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