We’ve only scratched the service on using technology to improve care, access and quality, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday at HIMSS15, and to continue along that path three main actions need to be accomplished.

Speaking in Chicago at the annual conference, Andy Slavitt also called for names of organizations setting up barriers to interoperability. He said care providers and patients should feel all of the investments made in technology, what he called a care dividend. “The taxpayer has invested billions…We have stages and rules and measures,” he said. “What matters is can technology produce more time and capacity for care providers to improve care to patients.”

Also See: Data Blocking Hampers Interoperability, ONC Says

“We have a great need for modern infrastructure with healthcare,” Slavitt added as the second action point. “For health care to be truly as great as we deserve, it needs far better infrastructure in critical places.”

He said the healthcare system needs to adapt and learn using technology. “We can do with a little less innovation in shareables and wearables,” he said to applause, “and more focus on opportunities to improve healthcare infrastructure.”

The final point, Slavitt told attendees, is one of the greatest concerns—interoperability. He recalled a visit earlier this week to a qualified healthcare center with some of the greatest electronic medical records and quality control in the country. Yet, physicians couldn’t follow patients who left to go to a specialist. It is “not acceptable for taxpayers, it is not acceptable to us,” he said. “I’m asking a great deal more of [the] innovation system. It’s time to get down to business and advance the gains of the last five years.” In return, Slavitt said the government will get better at listening and adapting and being a “more solution oriented partner.”

“As you implement, we need to adjust and make things easier for you,” he added, and pledged for CMS to be clearer in its goals and expectations so “you know where to invest based on how we will reimburse.”

Naming Names

Slavitt said CMS wants to know of every example, small and large, when someone willfully or in some way sets up barriers to interoperability. “We want to know about them,” he said. “I’d like to know about them and I’d like to have conversations with people participating in that and understand what is going on.”

It is not so much a matter of technology as it is a matter of commitment, he added. “I want to make sure we are happy as a team and it is a public service to hear about the issues and confront them.”

Slavitt concluded that the industry is moving to a level where as you walk the halls of a clinic people are feeling improvements being made and he looked to the HIMSS audience to help. “It is going to be this group of folks and companies you represent and how well you work together,” he said. “We have momentum, but I fear if we don’t get urgent about it, it won’t happen quickly enough.”

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