Payment changes, LTC certification needed to build nationwide healthcare technology infrastructure, government agency states

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Medicare and Medicaid payment models should be adjusted to help achieve fully interoperable health information systems across all provider types within 10 years, according to a newly released government “vision" paper.

The government has offered funding to certain types of healthcare providers to support the adoption of electronic medical records that have been certified as having a basic level of functionality. Despite these efforts, “it is not the norm that electronic health information is shared beyond groups of healthcare providers who subscribe to specific services or organizations,” according to the paper from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The paper identifies a number of “building blocks” to make this type of sharing the norm by 2024. One of these building blocks is working with federal agencies and private payers on “new payment models that will remove the current disincentives to information exchange.” This could be good news for long-term care providers that have been largely shut out of the government's funding for EMR adoption.

Another building block is expanding EMR certification to ensure that products are interoperable across all healthcare settings. The ONC has recently proposed voluntary certification requirements for EMRs in long-term and post-acute care, as the vision paper notes.

Regardless of the impediments to EMR uptake in long-term care, many providers have adopted electronic records and some have begun to forge ahead with establishing interoperability and information exchange within their markets.

Click here to access the complete document, released Thursday.

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