Are you a provider unhappy with your electronic health records system, or unable to share health data because of the actions of other organizations? Or, are you a healthcare consumer who can’t access your EHRs? The feds want to hear from you.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has a new online complaint website, healthit.gov/healthitcomplaints. It is the first formal complaint process that ONC has had throughout the journey to EHR meaningful use.
Asked why it took so long to set up the site, John White, M.D., deputy national coordinator, says ONC has received stakeholder input in multiple ways over the years, including email, public comment, advisory boards, and via websites of various ONC programs, among other options.
But White acknowledges: “We had a lot of doors in the house and thought it was time to have a front door.” In particular, the website will make it easier for providers and consumers not steeped in health IT policy to know where to go with a complaint.
ONC still wants concerns about EHRs, patient portals or other certified products to start with the vendor. If still unhappy and problems relate to a certifiable function of the EHR, an individual can contact an ONC-Authorized Certification Body and get help working with the vendor. If there still is no resolution, then ONC wants to know.
In particular, ONC wants to know if a problem results because of:
* Intentional blocking of or unreasonable interference with the exchange of health information,
* Being otherwise unable to share or receive health information (may not know how),
* Usability issues that prevent the EHR from appropriately supporting the work at hand, various workflows and meeting the needs of users, and
* Certified capabilities in the EHR not performing appropriately.
White says he is interested to see what the response from providers and consumers will be now that it’s easy to complain to ONC. “It’s clear there are a lot of folks who find value in their EHR, but also have a lot of concerns about it.”
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