Markle Connecting for Health is pleased to provide feedback on the general direction of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) implementation of the Meaningful Use (MU) program under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This letter summarizes comments from the Markle Connecting for Health community on some of the proposed requirements for Stage 2 of this important program.
Markle Connecting for Health is a public-private collaborative with representatives from organizations across the spectrum of health care and information technology.
In general, we support a reasonable approach of phasing “menu” requirements into “core” requirements over the course of the program without creating new burdens for manual counting by participating physicians and hospitals. We discuss four areas that present significant opportunities for Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements:
- Patient engagement as a key public benefit of the program, including the ability of individuals to view and download key personal health information online as a core requirement in Stage 2.
- A strategy that includes options and flexibility for participating doctors and hospitals to deliver information that satisfies MU requirements for coordination of care.
- The need to align quality-reporting requirements with various initiatives to improve health and health care, to emphasize automation of data collection and reporting, and to require summary statistics only for MU quality measures.
- The importance of defining a comprehensive set of privacy and security safeguards as part of MU requirements.