Health Business Technology Task Force Year in Review

When the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act passed in in 2009, it dramatically changed the landscape of health IT.  In an effort to increase adoption of health IT for what was deemed “meaningful use,” the Act unintentionally created an environment that led to a market of hastily designed systems that proved costly and time-consuming to implement.  In many cases, these same systems failed to function as promised or as necessary for physicians to meet compliance requirements and avoid financial penalties for non-compliance.  Physicians began to push back against rapid adoption, many expressing concern that they were being set up for failure, forced to make major financial and personnel investments in systems that did not meet their clinical, business, or regulatory needs.  

To avoid a repeat of this scenario, in July 2017, HIMSS created the Health Business Technology (HBT) task force,  a cross-section of decision-makers from health IT operational areas of payer, provider and health IT vendor organizations. The group has two main purposes:

  1. Provide guidance to the HIMSS Government Relations team regarding health IT implications of policy, regulatory and legislative proposals with the intent of informing policy makers’ understanding of potential unintended consequences and affect incentive and penalty programs related to requirements dependent on health IT; and 
  2. Facilitate open discussion between HIT vendors and end-users that will result in system/software functionality that not only meets regulatory requirements, but meets business needs as well

During its first year in operation, the HBT task force provided input on several key regulations and programs including:

  • Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)
  • Meaningful Use
  • Chronic Care Legislation Discussion Draft
  • Medicare Episode Payment Models

In FY18, the HBT will continue and expand its efforts, providing particular focus on MACRA- and Accountable Care Act-related activities, and exploring policy and regulatory implications of Blockchain, a technology that has the potential to create major improvements in many healthcare business processes.

We are very appreciative of the time and effort that the task force volunteers contribute to the HBT.  Meeting the intent of the HBT Charter requires the participation of individuals with background and understanding of the policy, business, and technology implications of new legislation, regulations, and other changes that affect the healthcare ecosystem.  Their experience and insights bring new perspectives and understanding to help ensure that potential changes can be successfully implemented in a way that minimizes disruption to the extent possible.  

New members are always welcome – the only requirements are an active HIMSS membership and a working knowledge of your organization’s health IT systems used to support administrative functions such as data sharing among providers within and outside of your organization; revenue cycle operations; regulatory reporting requirements; and patient engagement activities.  If you would like to join us, please contact Pam Jodock at pjodock@himss.org.

About the author: As IBM’s Global Health Team’s CHIO, Tony leads the global team’s efforts to support commercial health plan clients.  Tony joined IBM in 2014 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) where he was the CIO and Director of the Office of Information Services. Tony also serves as Chair on the HIMSS Health Technology Solutions Task Force.