2013 NCVHS Accomplishments
As advisory committee to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the NCVHS accomplishments in FY 2013 include:
- Organized and conducted a Roundtable on Health Data Needs for Community Driven Change, involving all three active Subcommittees, organized by the leadership of the Population Health and Privacy, Confidentiality and Security, and Standards Subcommittees and NCVHS staff, including Department officials, to address community data access and use. Primarily, the roundtable was organized to encourage discussion and feedback among participants, with facilitators refining themes in breakout groups. The joint Subcommittees successfully heard from representative community groups, data holders and stewards on what community health data they are using, gaps in securing data, accessibility and support for use, data use agreements, how privacy is protected and other issues. Roundtable Agenda
- Through the Population Health Subcommittee, prepared a Summary from the Community Driven Change Roundtable which is being distributed to health community groups, public health organizations, and other stakeholders to share the results from the deliberations. The key messages will be presented to the HHS Data Council in October. Recommendations are being developed on what the Department can do to support communities involved with developing and using community health data. Summary Report
- Prior to the roundtable, an informal environmental scan identified resources and assistance that are already available to communities, to enable NCVHS to pinpoint where more data and assistance are needed. In addition, individual NCVHS members sent an informal feedback tool to their networks to gather more information on community practices of collecting, protecting, and using information, with about 100 responses.
- The HHS Working Group on Data Access and Use continues to be a valuable and innovative resource in considering new, innovative approaches to the use of HHS health data and related data sources. Early meetings entailed a review of the landscape of health data and uses. The initial sessions provided an introduction to HHS Data by considering the “supply chain for health data” and the need data and improved data use infrastructure.
- Through The HHS Working Group on Health Data Access and Use, heard from innovative companies addressing how to facilitate collaborative research using large data assets. The Full Committee and Working Group also heard from the Executive Director of the Health Data Consortium, a public/ private partnership that sponsors and conducts the successful Datapalooza. The Working Group stressed the importance of working with communities on an ongoing basis to see what they want to know, and will be following up with HHS staff on ways to use cutting edge techniques such as “Code-a-thons” and “Solve-a-thons” to solve problems using HHS data and social media. The Working Group is currently working with developers, CMS data sets, and technical resources to enhance access and innovative use of HHS data.
- Through background work of the Standards Subcommittee, the Committee approved a letter which covers an extensive range of issues dealing with Administrative Transaction Standards, Code Sets and Operating Rules, and Industry Status of Planning, Transitioning and Implementation. All of these areas form the foundation of the architecture and building blocks for health information interoperability, requisites to accomplish objectives in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Letter to the Secretary (September 2012)
- Convened a roundtable discussion in November 2012 on the Future of Provider-Payer Information Exchanges in Support of Health Care Transformation, which discussed common themes around provider engagement, provider-payer engagement, patient and consumer engagement and vendor engagement; business case for change; standards, terminology and definitions, and coordination and collaboration across the industry. [Roundtable Agenda] This roundtable is contributing to a second session on a Standards Roadmap in September 2013.
- Through the Standards Subcommittee, organized a hearing (February 27th) on Industry Perspectives on Claim Attachments and Operating Rules, providing an opportunity for standards development organizations to provide information about electronic attachment standards and operating rules. Representatives from CMS, plans, providers, and other stakeholders provided industry perspectives as well. Hearing Agenda.
- Approved a letter addressing ACA intentions for HHS to adopt standards and operating rules for electronic claim attachments by January 2014, with a compliance date of January 2016. The letter is based on Standards Subcommittee hearings on the status of development of standards, implementation specifications and operating rules and the degree to which they are ready for adoption and use. The letter summarized common themes from the hearing, significant observations, including the need to broaden the scope and definition of “attachments”, and a series of recommendations to the HHS Secretary for action. (June 21, 2013) Attachments Standards for Health Care Letter
- Approved a letter enhancing NCPCD Standards for Pharmacy Claims (June 21, 2013). The letter was developed by the Standards Subcommittee in response to communication from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) about a NCPDP recommendation to enhance an upcoming Implementation Guide. Enhancements to NCPDP Standard for Pharmacy Claims Letter
- Through The Standards Subcommittee, held a hearing (June 17-18, 2013) to receive testimony on Administrative Transaction Standards, Code Sets and Operating Rules – Industry Status of Planning, Transitioning and Implementation. NCVHS is uniquely positioned to gather stakeholders to discuss standards and operating rules and the state of implementation, including possible initiatives in the industry. A portion of the hearing also was organized to increase the level of awareness on the preparations needed for the impending implementation of ICD-10 code sets on October 1, 2014. Hearing Agenda
- Received Department briefings from CMS and ONC, and the OCR Officer, who provided an overview of the HIPAA Omnibus Privacy and Security Rule. ASPE staff provided an update on the Health System Measurement Project, including plans to track government data on critical U.S. health system indicators. The national trend data have special utility since the information can be displayed with detailed views of population characteristics such as age, sex, income level, and insurance coverage status. In the Department briefings, HHS presenters recognized the urgency of standards for interoperability and the need to optimize data alignment and leverage policy to make progress.
- Several NCVHS Committee members and staff attended the Datapalooza IV on June 3-4, which focused on innovative use of health information and data. Keynote speaker HHS Secretary noted that adoption of EHRs is transforming the healthcare system, innovative data access and usage, including re-thinking how we access and use health data. NCVHS reports and observations align with the Secretary’s comments about the “power of the patient’s voice” in treatment and evaluation. Speakers stressed a recurring theme that the health system needs to shift, in terms of focus and payment, to prevention and promotion of good health practice —all areas touched on by NCVHS.
- Was briefed by CPHDSS staff, Michelle Williamson on NCHS-supported activities to develop standards that will enable interoperability between electronic health record systems and state vital records systems for birth, death and fetal death reporting.
- Approved a letter on a Stewardship Framework for the Use of Community Health Data, developed by the Subcommittee on Privacy, Confidentiality and Security, based on its April 17-18 hearing on Next Steps for Community Data Use. The letter recognizes the special challenges of immediate, digital and electronic information, data sharing and impeding interoperability as a data collection resource while appreciating the overarching goal of a stewardship to enhance trust in data use. A Stewardship Framework for the Use of Community Health Data Letter
- Toward the end of this fiscal year, the Committee started to revamp its dynamics to maximize the expertise of the members and to assure a full force approach to the topics and issues. In the last several meetings, all of the subcommittee sessions were conducted sequentially to permit full attendance and participation by the members without overlap or concurrent sessions. All of the Subcommittees considered how to include and incorporate aspects of the Community as a Learning Health System into their own agendas, for example, including a Quality Perspective, Privacy Role and Contribution, and considering Standards as a Continuing NCVHS theme. The NCVHS Chair has a special commitment to streamline the Committee’s review process, assure full participation of the membership in the various projects whenever possible, and organize the agendas to assure efficient, effective deliberations for deliverables.
- Through the new Chair, the Committee is working through the Guiding Principles, Framework, Priority Themes and Alignment for the Committee as developed at the 2012 summer leadership strategic working session. Strategic Working Session Agenda
- Through the Working Group, received briefing from the new HHS Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Bryan Sivak, who, described the 2013 Health Data Initiative plans and offered his reflections that no matter how much data is collected and reported, effectiveness comes from the impact on people’s lives—stories compel change and make a difference in lives, a position shared strongly by the NCVHS membership
- The NCVHS Executive Leadership meets periodically in conference calls and held a very successful strategic planning session or ‘retreat” in August 2012 to review the processes and operations to assure the Committee’s effectiveness, with an aim to target what is Relevant, Actionable and Timely. The result was a fine-tuned distillation of the Committee’s key themes and a temporary working consolidation of the Population Health and Quality Subcommittees to explore the new concepts. The Committee’s unique ability to re-organize reflects a flexibility and response to constantly evolving data infrastructural needs, highlighting its effectiveness.
- The NCVHS Leadership also coordinates with the Office of the National Coordinator and its two HIT Advisory Committees to assure complementary and synergistic work products. The Committee continues to reinforce its commitment to help “prepare the landscape for data-driven reform,” and develop an Information Framework for Health and Health Care Improvement. The NCVHS Executive Secretary and ONC Liaison hold quarterly teleconferences with their respective staff and colleagues to assure collaboration.