HHS launches physician use and burden of health IT tracking initiative

October 1, 2020

The department’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology also awarded a cooperation agreement to the American Board of Family Medicine.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched an initiative to track the use of health information technology (health IT) among U.S. office-based physicians.

According to a news release, the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) awarded a cooperative agreement to the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) to measure the use and burdens of health IT be office-based physicians. The data will give ONC a national-level view of how office-based physicians use health IT, including key information on interoperability and burden.

This move builds on prior research in 2017 which found that about 80 percent of office-based physicians used a certified electronic health record (EHR) but only about 10 percent of those physicians reported an ability to electronically send, receive, find, and integrate health data from EHRs outside of their networks, the release says.

Under the agreement, ABFM has been tasked with:

  • Developing key measures related to health IT use and interoperability of health information
  • Collecting data from a nationally representative sample of office-based physicians to support national level progress
  • Collaborating with ONC on the analysis and interpretation of the survey results

The data is expected to help identify disparities or unintended consequences due to the use of health IT and the impact of federal health IT policies.