Article Highlights:

  • The Biden administration could require enhanced patient data sharing, update EHR requirements, and increase API access to improve public health sharing and give experts the tools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, according to Ben Moscovitch, project director of Health Information Technology at Pew Charitable Trusts. “The Biden administration plans to work with Congress to respond to the coronavirus, but unless these issues are resolved, challenges with sharing data could continue to hamper efforts to track the virus’s spread and who has been vaccinated,” Moscovitch wrote in a recent Health Affairs blog post.
  • The need for faster and more reliable patient data access is key to slowing down the coronavirus pandemic. Gathering critical demographic data to effectively initiate contact tracing would aid public health organizations during the pandemic.
  • Specifically, Moscovitch said HHS could require EHR functions to support public health reporting in four areas:
    • Submitting full patient data sets on lab orders to track diseases
    • Transmitting case reports to public health organizations to accurately respond to public health threats
    • Communicating with immunization information systems to track patient vaccinations
    • Integrating syndromic surveillance to detect new disease outbreaks and hot spots

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