How CMS is “Doubling Down” on Health IT

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is doubling down on health information technology (IT) and taking advantage of recent innovations to empower patients with their own data, decisions and care,” according to a recent blog by CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The CMS Administrator outlined three key areas where CMS is focusing its energy to put patients first, cut costs and improve efficiency.

First, MyHealthEData, which was launched in March by CMS and the White House Office of Innovation, is designed to achieve true patient control and interoperability of health records, and to break down silos preventing patients from sharing their data with technology innovators and researchers to accelerate public health.

By putting data in the patients’ hands, this initiative aims to help them make informed decisions and receive the best value.

Second, CMS recently created a new Chief Health Informatics Officer (CHIO) role and is in the process of selecting a health care IT leader to bolster the CMS team.

The CHIO will be tasked with engaging stakeholders from all aspects of health care and driving health IT and data sharing to enhance care delivery, improve outcomes, drive down costs and empower patients. Additionally, the CHIO is expected to move forward initiatives such as the Medicare Blue Button 2.0 and CMS Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs.

Lastly, CMS is renewing its focus on data — not only to inform strategy, but to promote patient choice and drive down costs. With that in mind, Administrator Verma is considering the implementation of an Application Programming Interface (API) strategy across the agency that will assist developers and researchers in designing useful products and apps (like those found on smartphones) to improve the patient experience.