Misaligned incentives, privacy and security concerns and lack of health information exchange are among the barriers that hinder adoption and use of health information technology, according to a new report (PDF) from the Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force on Delivery System Reform and Health IT, a 32-member multistakeholder group co-chaired by former Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Dr. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).
Bipartisan Policy Center report: Alignment needed on health IT
The report lists the shared characteristics of high-performers in health IT, such as 21-hospital Banner Health, Phoenix, and Taconic Independent Practice Association, Fishkill, N.Y. Those organizations emphasize leadership, patient-centeredness, timely access to care, and accountability, according to the task force, which includes former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. David Blumenthal, as well as Janet Corrigan, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum.
"Studying the common attributes of the nation's highest-performing healthcare organizations can help shape public policy and investment decisions regarding health IT," the task force stated in the report.
Other obstacles to realizing health IT's potential include consumers' limited engagement with health IT tools as well as a multitude of IT-related government programs placing demands on providers' time and resources. "Compliance with the multiple performance measurements required by various federal, state and commercial programs absorbs significant intellectual and financial resources," the authors wrote. "Healthcare leaders note that many of the current required measures have essentially the same objectives, but their slightly different specifications demand different methods and processes for calculation, require extra time and effort that could be more effectively used addressing gaps in performance."
The report implores private and public entities to align incentives to reward health IT and foster the adoption of common standards. Specifically, the authors wrote, "By no later than June 30, 2013, the federal government and private-sector payers should review, align and agree upon uniform specifications for a core set of performance measures, enabling federally funded and private-sector programs with the same measurement objective (e.g., care of patients with diabetes) to utilize the same metrics." The task force also emphasized the need for more education and implementation assistance, consumer support, accelerated health information exchange, and privacy and security safeguards.
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