The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed new rules on data encryption and EHR interoperability in its newly released Stage 2 meaningful-use guidelines.
new federal guidelines on electronic health record (EHR) use bring few changes
for IT vendors, doctors and hospitals will need to take note of some changes
regarding encryption, data sharing and electronic entry of care directions.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Notice of
Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for Stage 2 requirements governing meaningful use of
EHRs and published the document in the Federal
the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health
(HITECH) Act, eligible health care professionals can qualify for government
if they implement "meaningful use" of EHRs.
care providers now have an extra year to meet Stage 1 criteria. All EHR
applications must be certified under Stage 2 by 2014 for providers to receive
incentives from the federal government. Stage 2 rules are now in a comment
period for six months.
announced the Stage 2 rules on Feb. 23 at the Healthcare
Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference
in Las Vegas.
Stage 2, CMS has added guidelines regarding secure messaging and encrypting
data at rest.
current EHR applications can handle these security requirements, said
Erica Drazen, managing director for the Global Institute for Emerging
Healthcare Practices at health care consulting firm CSC. "Encryption for
data at rest was a new requirement under privacy, so that may be something that
vendors need to be responding to, but in general it's not going to be such a
huge change for the vendor community," Drazen told eWEEK.
guidelines will need to be structured to encourage providers and IT vendors to
share data, according to Dr. Wendy Whittington, chief medical officer of health
care IT services vendor Anthelio
the emphasis on health information exchange highlighted in the rules provides
hope, an important question remainshow is this financially sustainable?"
Whittington said in a statement. "The document briefly acknowledges that
this has been a problem in the past, but it doesn't explain how we're going to
overcome the issue and align incentives in a way that makes health care
providers and vendors more interested in sharing."