Congressional Committee Hoping to Address Lingering EHR Issues

Following a series of six hearings to identify lingering issues the healthcare industry has with electronic health record systems (EHRs), the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is working to develop legislation it hopes will help address the problems.

HELP committee members Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) created a bipartisan working group to review problems identified during the hearing series that can be addressed through administrative or legislative action. Solutions to these issues will be outlined in the soon-to-be-released “medical innovation bill,” according to an article in iHealthBeat.

The medical innovation bill, expected to be introduced this year, will focus on fostering better EHR interoperability and includes seven EHR fix priorities, according to iHealthBeat.

The priorities include:

  • Bolstering standards
  • Ensuring the EHR certification system is working properly
  • Improving EHR access for all members of a healthcare team
  • Improving patient access to their health records
  • Preventing information blocking
  • Strengthening EHR privacy and security

 

The Senate HELP committee isn’t the only congressional group working on health IT issues. Recently Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation that would develop a system for providers to shop for and compare EHR systems. The “Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology (TRUST IT) Act would require the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to develop a rating system for health IT products that measures their performance on interoperability, security, and usability, according to iHealthBeat.

Many of the TRUST IT Act provisions could be included in the HELP committee’s bill, according to Alexander.

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