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Senators Introduce Legislation to Improve Electronic Health Records
Two Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee members have introduced the Trust IT Act of 2015. The proposed legislation aims to establish a health information technology (IT) rating system that will 1) allow consumers to compare products, 2) ban IT vendors from including nondisclosure clauses in their contracts, and 3) require certification of products meeting specified security and interoperability requirements.
As reported in the National Journal, the bill comes at a time when the HELP committee has made improving health IT a priority, and as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act works to bolster the exchange of health information through electronic health records (EHSs). In addition, the legislation’s introduction coincided with the Health and Human Services Department’s release of two final rules aimed at increasing interoperability and improving patient outcomes.
Part of the new bill deals with gag clauses; in September, a Politico report noted that some firms marketing EHR systems have contracts that bar providers from talking about system “bugs.” Another key part of the bill is letting health care providers compare products based on security, usability, and interoperability. The bill would also establish a health IT rating system that would be available online at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology website. Another provision of the bill would require that health IT products would have to meet certain security, interoperability, and user-friendly design requirements in order to be certified.
Source: National Journal, October 6, 2015.