Feds outline 2013 plans, goals for information exchange, Meaningful Use

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The federal government wants to see 50 percent of physician offices using electronic health records and 80 percent of eligible hospitals receiving Meaningful Use incentive dollars by the end of this year, acting Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner and National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari announced this week.

At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference in New Orleans on Wednesday, Tavenner and Mostashari outlined the government's agenda for ensuring that providers will continue to adopt information technology with a goal of care improvement.

Among other agenda items outlined were increasing the emphasis on interoperability and ensuring "program integrity" for Meaningful Use efforts. For the former, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued a request for information to get public input on policies officials hope can improve the "business case" for data exchange. He added at a separate press conference that for all such efforts, security is always top of mind.

"We have baked both security as well as privacy issues into all of the activities we have around health information exchange," he said. "Our chief privacy officer always reminds me that we're talking about, not just exchange of information, but secure exchange of health information."

Regarding program integrity, HHS, according to an announcement, is conducting medical reviews and issuing Comparative Billing reports as a means for making sure providers aren't trying to "game the system." Last fall, EHR fraud became a hot topic of discussion after an investigative article published by the Center for Public Integrity suggested that costs from provider upcoding via EHRs added $11 billion to Medicare costs.

To learn more:
- read the HHS announcement

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