Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price, stressed major changes to healthcare IT under the Trump Administration during his opening remarks at Health Datapalooza 2017. “People, patients, and partnerships” are going to be the major driving forces behind upcoming changes to data security and privacy.

Secretary Price stressed that HHS’ goal will be reducing the burden of healthcare IT to physicians by focusing on patient care.

Price said that “True interoperability has always been the goal,” but that burdensome EHR platforms and doctors’ roles as data entry clerks have significantly limited patient care. HHS is going to take a leading role in “deciding on the rules of the road” for interoperability processes.

New Healthcare IT Guidance

Price suggested that HHS will focus on “accessibility, affordability, quality, and empowering patients.” Forthcoming high-level policy making on interoperability in the future could come in the form of new HHS guidance, or even new regulation on the matter.

The Precision Medicine Initiative under the Obama Administration was about using patient data to collectively improve health research and care.

The Trump Administration will likely change the process under the auspices of a different name and fewer “burdens” on doctors. The rise of Electronic Health Records (EHR) platforms in the past has been the foundation of interoperability initiatives–but Price’s critical comments of the data entry process suggests that’s going to change in the near future.

Price says that EHR and healthcare IT as we know it has had challenging “and sometimes destructive consequences.” It’s clear that the Trump Administration will be changing its approach to interoperability in the years ahead.

The challenges of advancing and achieving interoperability within the limits of current healthcare technology and EHR capabilities will focus on physician accessibility to improve patient care. Price stressed the importance of “partnerships” in achieving these goals. Public-private partnerships could be on the horizon for the quest toward “true interoperability.”

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