November 21, 2016
HHS has named health IT as one of the department’s top management and performance challenges.
Although health IT has been lauded as a way to improve processes in the healthcare industry, HHS noted that it also poses two major challenges: ensuring security and access. In terms of security, the department reports that guaranteeing the secure exchange of electronic information remains a top priority; however, the rise of the Internet of Things, mobile health technology and use of ransomware by cybercriminals has contributed to privacy challenges.
In terms of meaningful access to electronic information, HHS is aiming to improve the flow of complete, accurate and timely information, to capitalize on the large datasets health IT can provide. At present, HHS reports barriers to convenient information sharing, such as lack of industry-wide interoperability. To combat information blocking, which HHS designates a “behavioral issue,” HHS has established a hotline to receive complaints about information blocking.
Outside of these two concerns, HHS also emphasized the importance of assessing EHRs and health IT usage to ensure the technology is achieving HHS’ goals — such as improving patient care and reducing cost.