AHIMA Supports Health IT Findings of WEDI Report

The report recommends expanding health IT education and literacy programs for consumers to encourage greater use of health IT.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announced its support for the 2013 Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) report, which outlines recommendations for health IT over the next decade.

The report includes 10 recommendations intended to serve as a roadmap for health-care organizations, with the intention of facilitating improvement in electronic exchange of health-care information.

It focuses on four areas, including consumer (patient) engagement through improved access to pertinent health-care information and business, information and data exchange requirements that will help enable payment models as they emerge.

Specifically, the report recommends expanding health IT education and literacy programs for consumers to encourage greater use of health IT, with a goal of achieving better care management and overall wellness.

The other two areas of focus include data harmonization and exchange, such as the alignment of administrative and clinical information capture, linkage and exchange, and innovative encounter models, like business and use cases for innovative encounter models that use existing and emergent technologies.

For example, the report recommends identifying and promoting methods and standards for health-care information exchange that would enhance care coordination.

According to the U.S. Healthcare Efficiency Index, health care claim submission is currently at 85 percent, yet other key transactions–including claim remittance, eligibility verification, claim status inquiries and claim payments–are at less than 50 percent usage.

The U.S. Healthcare Efficiency Index currently is only at 43 percent efficiency. In 2009, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a study and determined that the U.S. health care system spent $361 billion annually on health care administration.

That amounts to about 14.4 percent of total health care expenditures that year, and that at least half of the administrative expenditures were concluded to be wasteful.

"Patients are placed front and center in this report, along with ways for them to take greater ownership of their health information," said AHIMA CEO Thomas Gordon. "This aligns with AHIMA’s mission to drive the power of knowledge and provide health information where and when it’s needed. The report also outlines ways for health information to be exchanged more efficiently to lower costs and improve health care outcomes."

The 2013 WEDI Report recognizes existing efforts of other entities that are working to solve or improve issues identified as important to the recommendations made in this report.

The intent of these recommendations is to serve as a common roadmap for health care organizations, including WEDI.

"Health IT is not the cure in and of itself but, when adequately deployed, can serve as a powerful change agent," the report concluded. "The rise of mobile and other technologies creates many opportunities for the health care industry to move forward together to solve many of the challenges that have plagued the American health care system."