When federal officials asked for comments on how to make electronic health records (EHRs) work together, TMA offered some suggestions.
In a letter from Joseph H. Schneider, MD, chair of TMA's Ad Hoc Committee on Health Information Technology, TMA told the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology that:
- ONC needs to focus on comprehensive connectivity tests that certified EHR vendors must pass;.
- Physicians should be able to electronically share any piece of a patient's health data;
- EHR vendors should be required to tag all data elements with standardized XML; and
- ONC should promote a common data standard format for the transfer of health information.
TMA recognizes that the value of EHRs increases significantly when physicians and other providers can seamlessly exchange data with each other and with patients. Health information exchanges (HIEs) are being developed in Texas, but most are not yet fully operational. Details about HIEs in Texas are available online. TMA has a webpage dedicated to information about HIEs, including questions physicians should ask before joining one.
For more information about HIEs or other HIT issues, contact TMA's HIT Department at (800) 880-5720 or by email.
Action, May 1, 2013