Continua Alliance lobbying on healthcare reform (US)

Little noticed here in the US in the deluge of information on ‘healthcare reform’ has been the lobbying of the Continua Alliance to include remote monitoring in the latest 2000 page+ bill which is now before the US Senate this Saturday.  Continua was originally founded to set interoperability standards for their 220+ member companies, but now it is actively pressing for technology implementation and reimbursement.  Certainly reimbursement has been a stall point, but here we now have the major association asking for Federal regulations.

Cited in the article in EDN-Electronic Business are:

  • reimbursement for ‘certified software’ and ‘meaningful use’ of technology
  • inclusion in the House and Senate bills, as well as $20 billion for healthcare IT in the ARRA stimulus program (yet rules are not defined yet)
  • a requirement for CMS (Center for Medicare Services) to develop pilot programs for chronically ill seniors ($10 billion/10 years) and to develop a ‘health IT enabled program’ that includes a chronic disease registry, home telehealth technology, and care oversight by the treating physician, along with EMRs and remote monitoring systems
  • a provision for home healthcare requiring the primary care physician to coordinate care
  • development of EHRs promoted

Yet this is all of a ‘Christmas tree’–it reads as something for different sectors, more mandates than reimbursements and the picking of ‘winners and losers’ in technology.  The fact is that PHRs and EHRs, the heart of all this, are a long way from being interoperable or to accurately exchange data (a matter of life and death)–and the technologies are getting to interoperability, but not yet there either. And of course there is the continuing problem of:  how is the tide of data processed in a meaningful way–and how do you make it actionable?  (Where does the data go, and who does what with it?)