What comes after Meaningful Use? And, what is the appropriate role that government should play in health information technology going forward?

Those are the kinds of questions the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society is trying to answer by collecting industry feedback through a survey that delves into government intervention.

Given that Stage 3 is likely to be the final stage of the EHR Incentive Program, HIMSS believes that now is the right time to get industry input on the proper role for government in health IT, especially in light of ongoing efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services for healthcare delivery system reform and the Precision Medicine Initiative that will rely heavily on health IT to achieve their objectives. 

“Historically, healthcare information technology and transformation of the healthcare industry has been driven by private innovation, advances in science and technology and clinical practice changes in business models, and consumer demand, in addition to efforts by the government to drive desired advances.  In recent years, however, the role of the federal government in the industry has changed in a variety of ways, through legislation, regulation, and facilitation,” states HIMSS.  “Given the activity of recent months that forecasts a shift in the ways in which federal and state government may take even further action, this is an opportune time for HIMSS to collect input from stakeholders on the most helpful role of government in the health information technology industry going forward.”

Earlier this year, the HIMSS Public Policy Committee created a workgroup focused on the topic of “Beyond Meaningful Use” to help flesh out the issues surrounding the public sector’s involvement in HIT, which some stakeholders have complained has been heavy handed.

For its part, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT last year hosted 15 listening sessions nationwide with stakeholders to find out “what is working and what is not” in the EHR Incentive Program. The listening sessions were also venues in which ONC was told how the federal government could help and “how it could get out of the way” of progress, according to National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, M.D.

Also See: DeSalvo Says ONC Listening, Learning from MU Challenges

To be successful with its “Beyond Meaningful Use” survey, HIMSS saysbroad industry participation is required to “ensure the survey results reflect the diversity of the health IT stakeholder community and lend statistical validity to the delivery of the results to external audiences.”

The online survey, available here, will remain open through September 9.

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