GAO Report on Interoperability Barriers

Development: Information exchange groups largely blame the meaningful use program for their struggles in promoting interoperability.

Issue: The report is likely to be used to support lawmakers’ call for a delay to the meaningful use program.

By Alex Ruoff

Sept. 28 — Health information exchange groups widely blame the federal EHR incentive program for making it too difficult for doctors and hospitals to digitally share patient information, according to a GAO report made available to Bloomberg BNA Sept. 28.

The report, requested by Senate Republicans, was an analysis of interviews with officials from 18 health information exchange organizations. Those officials told Government Accountability Office that the meaningful use program has diverted resources and attention away from efforts to improve the interoperability of electronic health records and hindered exchange initiatives.

The government watchdog also found that exchange organizations don’t believe that the meaningful use program will ultimately help improve the interoperability of EHRs, which is a major goal of the program.

The meaningful use program offers Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to health-care providers and hospitals that adopt EHR systems. The program has paid more than $30 billion to more than 5,000 hospitals and more than 400,000 providers since 2011.

To read the full article, visit Bloomberg BNA.