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Congress urged to support interoperability

November 27, 2013
by Richard R. Rogoski
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The need to provide incentives aimed at integrating electronic health records and remote patient monitoring systems moved to a new level this week when several industry groups sent a joint letter to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees.

Among the groups asking for interoperability standards are the American Telemedicine Association, Association for Competitive Technology, the Telecommunications Industry Association and Continua Health Alliance.

The letter stresses that the need to collect, access and disseminate data as well as changes in the way physicians are reimbursed for their services, requires the adoption of open and consensus-based standards that include data collected from remote monitoring systems.

The letter states in part: "The health and financial benefits of remote monitoring are significant. Remote monitoring connects patients and health care providers outside of healthcare facilities, allowing for ongoing treatment and for early discovery of the warning signs for ailments such as congestive heart failure, pneumonia, myocardial infraction and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. By actively involving patients in their own care, they are also empowered–and far more likely–to make healthy lifestyle changes. Clinical evidence has demonstrated that interoperable remote monitoring improves care, reduces hospitalizations, helps avoid complications and improves satisfaction, particularly for the most chronically ill."

It further states: "The adoption and use of voluntary standards is a long-standing federal policy that promotes effective and efficient technology and innovation in the marketplace. The use of such standards for interoperability between remote patient monitoring devices and EHRs would leverage the broader information and communications technology industry that has flourished globally through ubiquitous interoperable mobile devices, systems and networks. It would also enable systemic engagement between patients, health care providers, and other stakeholders."