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CMS Applauds Goals of 2013 WEDI Report

By Robert Tagalicod, Director, Office of E-Health Standards and Services

In 1993, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) created the original WEDI Report, which provided a vision for the industry to successfully transition to electronic data interchange standards as a way to create cost-efficiencies to reduce the burden of administrative processes. The report led directly to the creation of administrative simplification provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Now twenty years later, WEDI is developing a new report expected for release in December 2013 that will seek to provide solutions that will continue to advance the transition to electronic healthcare information in the healthcare industry.

I am honored to be serving as a member of the WEDI Report Executive Steering Committee, along with other representatives from government, healthcare, and corporate organizations. In an April 2nd committee meeting, we focused our attention on potential issues and successes that we need to address in the 2013 report.  We agreed that the report should provide a new roadmap to guide the next generation of health information exchange.  

Areas of Focus
Our next steps include identifying major healthcare trends in the following four areas that will be the basis of this roadmap:  

• Consumer engagement through improved access to their health information

• Alternative payment models improving the fee-for-service structure and providing better care at a lower cost; development of business, information, and exchange requirements

• Standards that will allow easier capture, link, and exchange of administrative and clinical information

• Examples of innovative ways for providers and patients to interact using existing or emerging technologies

I look forward to working with my colleagues across the industry over the next several months to create a report that will set new guidelines for securing safe and secure information exchange. We hope that by addressing these issues we will provide solutions to barriers that ensure that the right data gets to the right place at the right time.  With my colleagues at WEDI providing the roadmap, I am confident that we will.

Join a Workgroup
There are four workgroups that will be focusing on each of the four areas listed above. The workgroups are open to the public at no cost, and I encourage you to participate. Visit the WEDI website to find out how you can get involved.