Pew Charitable Trusts urges CMS to focus on patient matching, APIs, and standards

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Pew Charitable Trusts urges CMS to focus on patient matching, APIs, and standards

The Pew Charitable Trusts is urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to focus on overcoming “three key barriers” to promoting interoperability through hospital payment programs.
In a Monday letter to the federal agency, the non-profit made several suggestions in response to a request for public comments regarding the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (HIPPS) proposed rule recently published by CMS.
Pew noted that the 2019 HIPPS proposed rule replaces the Meaningful Use program with a new set of interoperability-focused measures, including several designed to advance data exchange.
“Throughout the proposed rule as part of revisions to several measures,” Pew wrote, “CMS has opportunities to improve interoperability” by addressing three factors impacting the exchange and utility of health data:

  • Difficulties matching health records to the correct patient
  • Inability to easily extract useful data from health records
  • Limited use of standard ways to describe clinical information

“Interoperability relies on the ability to accurately link records referring to the same individual when the files are held in different locations,” Pew Health Information Technology Manager Ben Moscovitch said in the letter, adding that the use of “simple and transparent application programming interfaces (APIs) open pathways to exchange information across EHRs in care facilities.”
Moscovitch also argued that standards and common definitions for clinical terms are necessary to ensure that data can be used to improve care.
“CMS has indicated over the past several months that it will focus heavily on promoting the interoperability of EHRs and ensuring patients have access to their health data,” he concluded. “The proposed changes in the HIPPS proposed rule marks an important step in ensuring that patients and clinicians have the data they need to inform care decisions—especially once additional progress is made on patient matching, effective use of APIs, and adoption of clinical data standards.”