The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Tuesday proposed broad changes in the way it handles providers’ efforts to implement electronic health records systems, as well as the ways in which those systems support changes in patient care.

CMS released its proposed rule to implement its MyHealthEData initiative to strengthen interoperability and change the rules of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Programs, commonly called the Meaningful Use program.

CMS officials say they intend to rename the Meaningful Use program “Promoting Interoperability” to emphasize that measures in the policies will “require the exchange of health information between providers and patients.”

The agency also says its promulgating policies to “make the program more flexible and less burdensome.” It also says it intends to incentivize “providers to make it easier for patients to obtain their records electronically.”

Also see: Fed initiative to put patients in control of their health data

The proposed rule reiterates the requirement that providers use the 2015 Edition of Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) in 2019 “as part of demonstrating meaningful use to qualify for incentive payments and avoid reductions to Medicare payments.” The updated technology includes the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), “which have the potential to improve the flow of information between providers and patients.”

Also in the proposed rule, CMS is requesting stakeholder feedback through a Request for Information on the possibility of revising Conditions of Participation to revive interoperability as a way to increase electronic sharing of data by hospitals.

The proposed rule can be found here.

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