A coalition of stakeholders is asking federal officials to take bold steps to increase health information exchange under the Stage 2 meaningful use program.

That includes decertifying electronic health records products from the meaningful use program if vendors pursue strategies to block data, and make providers who do so ineligible for the meaningful use program.

“Some EHR vendors and healthcare organizations actively block information exchange between providers and even within institutions,” says the 65-member Health IT Now Coalition in a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Business models built around such data silos have no place in a healthcare system experiencing the challenges currently faced in this country. The meaningful use program, which is intended to facilitate health information exchange for the public good, should apply policy levers to challenges not just of standards but governance to ensure this practice does not continue.”

The organization provides numerous recommendations to promote systemic interoperability and information exchange by strengthening Stage 2 criteria beyond what has been proposed, such as increasing from 65 percent to 80 percent the generation of summaries of care during care transitions.

The group also supports retaining or expanding the requirement that 10 percent of summaries transmitted during a care transition be among disparate organizations with different EHR systems. “Half of all providers may be meaningful users in 2014 and it is reasonable to expect electronic exchange between those participating in the program.”

The comment letter is at healthitnow.org.

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