Seema Verma

The federal government launched a new tool on Thursday as part of an effort to give skilled nursing a better vehicle to exchange records with other healthcare stakeholders.

Its new “Data Element Library” is a database that helps support the freer exchange of electronic health information, in an easy and free-to-use, centralized fashion. DEL allows members of the public to view specific data that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requires of nursing homes and rehab hospitals, the government agency said.

The library also includes health IT standards to make it easier for technology vendors to incorporate information into their electronic health records platforms that are used by any type of post-acute provider, according to the CMS.

“Integrating these data elements into EHRs will ultimately allow health information to flow more easily from one provider to another. For example, when a patient moves from a rehabilitation hospital to a skilled nursing facility, then from that facility to home under the care of a home health agency, the transfer of the patient’s health record from one facility to the next will be much easier because they are all ‘speaking the same language,’” the CMS wrote in a news announcement.

“We’re excited to add this important building block to the foundation for interoperability that CMS is helping to establish,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement Thursday. “The DEL supports the use and sharing of data, and aligns with MyHealthEData, a governmentwide effort strengthening the interoperability of health information.”