HCTAA Releases Health IT Advocacy Guide

The Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA), an affiliate of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, has released a new tool to help home care providers advocate for the advancement of health information technology (HIT).

The “Health IT Primer” is a comprehensive guide developed to identify the challenges, goals and opportunities related to four technologies pertinent to home care: electronic health records (EHRs)/point-of-care (POC); health information exchange; telehealth; and mobile health (mhealth). The accessibility and functionality of these e-enabled technologies are playing an increasing role in home care’s ability to remain viable healthcare partners, improve quality, reduce costs, and promote self-care management among patients.

Although health IT can be a confusing and overwhelming area to sort through for some home care providers, this tool highlights several barriers to HIT adoption including high initial start-up costs for devices and software; inadequate reimbursement for telehomecare services; lack of patient-centered care coordination and care transition models that involve homecare and hospice providers; lack of coordination with existing federal or state resources; and lack of integration and interoperability among various technologies.

The goals outlined in the “Health IT Primer” offer home care providers a useful roadmap to determine the technology needs in your agency and local/state community, as well as to coordinate with local and state officials to ensure home care’s involvement in meaningful HIT adoption and deployment throughout their community. Despite the exclusion from popular federal programs such as the CMS EHR Meaningful Use Incentive Program, and a lack of reimbursement for telehomecare services under Medicare, home care providers still have an opportunity to steer the direction of technology and care delivery innovation.

State and local communities are developing strategies that integrate health IT with patient-centered, longitudinal care. Health information exchanges (HIEs) are being created on a state and regional level to enable to the electronic sharing of health information. Many home care providers are working with local officials to ensure that these exchanges are HIPAA compliant, and also include pertinent data and clinical elements to enable safe and efficient transfers and care coordination. Home care providers are also working with their state Medicaid offices to recognize telehomecare as a reimbursable benefit.

HCTAA continues to work with stakeholders and support initiatives that make health IT adoption safer, easier, and less costly for home care providers and the patients they serve.

Click here to access the HCAF Resources for Medicare Providers web page to download the Health IT Primer.

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