News Feature | October 3, 2016

Health IT Playbook Offers Tools To Help Providers Navigate The EHR Market

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Navigator Grant Future

CMS and ONC also released an EHR contracting guide to promote successful adoption.

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have announced the release of a Health IT Playbook, designed to help physician and other clinicians assess their needs and navigate the electronic heath record market. They also released EHR Contracts Untangled: Selecting Wisely, Negotiating Terms, and Understanding the Fine Print, an EHR contracting guide designed help hospitals and ensure that contract terms do not inhibit the utility of their EHR technologies.

The two resources will help not only ensure a more interoperable flow of health information, but also help realize the Obama administration’s goal of increasing health system efficiencies, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and ONC chief Vindell Washington, wrote. They assert, “Quite simply, our healthcare system cannot realize the promise of EHRs if information cannot flow across practices — to and from patients — easily and in a cost-effective manner.”

The EHR contract guide specifically helps providers address data blocking and other obstacles to adoption and leverage of health IT to improve the delivery of care. The authors state the guide and the Health IT Playbook together can create a more level playing field between the providers and the EHR vendors to help improve physicians’ satisfaction with their EHR adoption choices.

Ultimately, Slavitt and Washington conclude, “The guide, along with the Health IT Playbook, not only helps to support the interoperable flow of health information, but the Administration’s efforts to foster a cost efficient healthcare system. Ensuring patient data is available to clinicians — and patients — when and where it is needed can improve coordination among providers, prevent duplicative appointments or diagnostic tests, and decrease costs to patients and the overall healthcare system.”