HIMSS Public Policy Center
Building a strong foundation of public policy surrounding health information and technology is critical to the HIMSS vision to realize the full health potential of every human, everywhere. To achieve this, tools, technologies and resources must exist so everyone has access to a long-term, comprehensive digital picture of their health. HIMSS works closely with our members, partners and health policy partners to educate decision-makers at all levels of government and make policy recommendations on the use of information and technology to transform health.
Government Health Agency Support
Governments put forward initiatives to ensure that the right care is delivered at the right place at the right time. By supporting a commitment to healthy communities and educating lawmakers and government health agencies, we help create a modern public health ecosystem to enable automated, safe, interoperable and rapid data exchange to transform health and wellness for all.
Stay informed on the latest happenings with government policymaking.
Healthcare systems around the world want to develop value-based care delivery models that increase access and improve care and outcomes through adoption, use, and optimization of information and technology to foster change that encourages funding value over volume.
Health information and technology solutions are driving advances in biomedical research, improved care delivery and access, wellness through disease prevention and management, early detection of disease, cost effectiveness, and economic opportunity. We support this progress and encourage harnessing the rapid speed of innovation across our community in government action.
Get actionable insights into health information and technology policy from our subject matter experts.
Top Priorities and Positions Through 2022
Our priorities guide our public policy development and analysis across all health domains. We provide policymakers and other stakeholders with well-articulated positions that inform and shape public discourse, focused on harmonizing policy expectations that minimize conflicting requirements, support alignment of goals and objectives, and enable private sector innovation.
- Policies must promote coverage of information-driven and evidence-based connected health.
- Clinical expertise must be used to evaluate the risks and benefits of using connected health services/tools to deliver care.
- Outdated and arbitrary restrictions on telehealth that have long hindered its adoption must be removed from U.S. state and federal statutes, including limitations on:
- Patient and provider locations (geographic restrictions, distant sites, originating sites)
- Healthcare professionals and care locations eligible to provide telehealth to patients
- Evidence-based communication technology services and modalities
- Policies on connected health must enable and improve safe, reliable access to healthcare regardless of race, ethnicity, age, income, geography, gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, or other socioeconomic factors.
- Policies must seek to advance health equity by rectifying underlying causes of disparities, including addressing social determinants of health (SDOH).
- Policies and incentives around connected health must be aligned to accelerate the transition to value-based care.
- Policies must be technology-agnostic, forward-looking, and flexible/adaptable to evolving and future applications of connected health.
- Connected health coverage must be designed to deliver care in ways that both patients and providers prefer.
Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
- Policies must strive for a unified, global approach to health cybersecurity and data privacy that leverages the creation and adoption of voluntary, consensus-based, industry-led guidelines, best practices, methodologies, procedures, and processes for the adoption of voluntary, universal information privacy and security frameworks.
- These frameworks must include use cases and implementation guidance that are scalable for a wide range of healthcare organizations and inclusive to all care settings.
- An information-sharing pipeline that allows governments to inform the private sector of cyberthreat intelligence must be created.
- Government must allocate funding for education and certification programs necessary to address the shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals.
- Government must extend protections—similar to those that physical facilities receive near combat zones—to medical cyberspace, protecting healthcare facilities from attacks by state-sponsored bad actors.
- The development of any comprehensive government health privacy laws must incorporate the evolving needs and requirements for the healthcare community; address the challenges and opportunities inherent in sharing health information across communities; and clarify and regulate who has data access.
The European Health Data Space (EHDS) is a health specific ecosystem comprised of rules, common standards and practices, infrastructures and a governance framework that aims at empowering individuals through increased digital access to and control of their electronic personal health data, at national level and European Union (EU)-wide. It supports individuals’ free movement, while fostering a genuine single market for electronic health record systems, relevant medical devices, and high-risk AI systems. It provides a consistent, trustworthy, and efficient set-up for the use of health data for research, innovation, policy-making and regulatory activities.
- We must move toward bidirectional, individual access to information, and clearly present this value proposition for all health ecosystem participants related to the collection and exchange of data.
- Health information and technology tools and data collection standards must improve access to data from disparate sources and ensure data is available to the right person at the right place at the right time across the care continuum.
- In the U.S., the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) must expand to include additional data classes that encompass more information streams, including more data focused on SDOH, patient-generated health, wearables, genomics, and healthcare cost and price information.
- Patients must have secure access to actionable information to help them direct their own healthcare and inhibit information blocking that contributes to seamless care delivery.
- Health information and technology developers must be able to publish APIs and allow information from such technology to be accessed, exchanged and used without special effort.
- Health Level 7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources Release 4 (HL7® FHIR® R4) and additional named implementation specifications must be utilized by stakeholders across the ecosystem. We support the ONC’s approach to promoting open APIs and the signal that the ONC is sending to the community by specifying HL7 FHIR.
Advancing interoperability and patient access to information
The 21st Century Cures Act focuses on making important investments in accelerating medical product development and bringing new innovations and advances to patients who need them faster and more efficiently. Enacted in 2016, the Cures Act also includes several health IT-specific policies, from increasing innovation and competition by allowing more choice in care and treatment, reducing burden as well as advancing interoperability through new application programming interface (API) requirements, and promoting patient access to their electronic health information (EHI)
HIMSS Public Policy Center
We assist our members by:
- Providing key data and background research on the value of health information and technology
- Responding to questions about past, current and potential health information and technology legislation and regulations
- Arranging legislative visits in your state, district or Washington, DC
Questions? Email us.