Tom Price: Hands-Off Approach Will Drive Health IT Innovation

Doctors spend too much time facing computers instead of patients, HHS secretary says

Speaking to an audience at Health Datapalooza hosted by AcademyHealth, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price said his administration is “fully committed” to data and health information technology (IT) but said government oversight has created too many obstacles, according to a report from FierceHealthcare.

Price didn’t address any impending regulatory changes, such as meaningful use or electronic health records (EHR) certification. Last week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a proposed rule relaxing EHR reporting requirements.

Instead of “stipulating every jot and tittle,” Price said the federal government should simply govern the rules of the road, allowing ingenuity to drive data sharing. Achieving interoperability “ought to be just doggone simple,” he said, but regulatory burdens have made that goal much more challenging.

“This administration is committed to doing all we can to align incentives and promote true interoperability,” he asserted.

Price reiterated his position that doctors are leaving medicine because of burdensome regulations, echoing comments he made during his Senate confirmation hearing. Among his clinical colleagues, there is a growing frustration that they are spending more time “tapping on screens or keyboards” instead of helping patients.

“We need physicians to be patient-facing, not computer-facing, which is what many of them feel they are right now,” he said.

Source: FierceHealthcare; April 28, 2107.