Outgoing DHHS administrators: Give healthcare data a chance

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale
Outgoing DHHS administrators: Give healthcare data a chance

As we watch the Trump administration take over the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Republicans stumble toward a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we can only guess what kind of changes will be made to U.S. healthcare.

To perhaps guide those changes, Andy Slavitt, then acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Vindell Washington, then head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, co-wrote a blog entry about the value of healthcare data.

The blog post — which could be considered non-partisan — seems to be a victim of the transition. Other past posts can be found in an archive but this one seems to have fallen through the cracks.

Basically, Slavitt and Washington called healthcare data “the lifeblood of the value-based payment environment.” And value-based payments should be a bi-partisan tool for improving healthcare.

While they advocated the federal government playing a "modest role" in developing a data-rich ecosystem, they listed six elements needed to make healthcare data part of a value based healthcare system:

  1. Seamless interaction between point of care solutions and other entities, including through the use of standard APIs.
  2. Growth of third-party entities that can meet provider data access and reporting needs.
  3. Use of low-cost shared services necessary for aggregating and linking data.
  4. Greater data transparency and data consolidation.
  5. Standardization of key patient data needed for quality measurement.
  6. Alignment around how quality is measured and reported across payers.

Again, it's hard to imagine ICD-10 data will not be part of the healthcare data supporting value-based healthcare.