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CMS launches eHealth website

Site will offer central repository for information on health IT programs


By Rich Daly
Posted: March 5, 2013 - 12:45 pm ET
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The CMS launched the eHealth initiative this week as a central repository for information on the federal government's digital record-keeping and electronic prescribing initiatives.

The page provides a central location to search the CMS site for details of the major digital health initiatives, including the $22 billion electronic health-record incentive program, the hospital inpatient quality reporting system and the e-prescription incentive program.

“CMS is committed to helping healthcare providers deliver better patient care by simplifying the use of electronic standards and encouraging the adoption of health information technology,” Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at CMS, wrote on the eHealth blog.

Although the digital records initiatives were launched by different laws in recent years, Tagalicod framed them as part of an overarching eHealth infrastructure “that will transform our healthcare system by capturing and tracking health information electronically.”

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Many of those initiatives have encountered varying amounts of provider resistance and controversy, including the ongoing effort to update the latest International Classification of Diseases, or ICD-10. The latest deadline—Oct. 1, 2014—to transition from a predecessor set of diagnosis and inpatient procedure codes to ICD-10 to allow greater specificity and detail in describing a patients' diagnoses and treatments followed repeated delays due to provider concerns with the transition's complexity and costs.

Attached marketing materials appeared to acknowledge the controversies surrounding some of the programs.

“Making the move to eHealth represents a challenge for everyone—providers, technology vendors, payers, and CMS,” noted in a CMS factsheet (PDF).

The initiative also includes a listserv to help address the “challenges” providers and other healthcare industry entities have encountered as part of implementing the range of digital initiatives simultaneously.

“CMS will closely collaborate with stakeholders to successfully navigate implementation and integration of EHRs, operating standards, and quality measurement; and will review regulations to maximize alignment opportunities across initiatives,” according to the fact sheet.


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