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2013 electronic health information report released

January 20, 2014

By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News staff

Dr. Jurkovich
A report from the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange promises to serve as the new roadmap for health information technology.

The 2013 WEDI Report was released in December. The report is designed to improve the exchange of health care information and is the result of a nine-month public-private effort with more than 200 subject matter experts volunteering.

The original WEDI report, released in 1993, ultimately led to the development of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects the privacy of patients' health records and information. The 2013 report identifies four areas of focus:

• Patient engagement: consumer engagement through improved access to pertinent health care information;

• Payment models: business, information and data exchange requirements that will help enable payment models as they emerge;

• Data harmonization and exchange: alignment of administrative and clinical information capture, linkage and exchange;

• Innovative encounter models: business and use cases for innovative encounter models that use existing and emergent technologies.

"We are already seeing rapid change in the four focus areas, particularly with our physician colleagues and hospitals," said Dr. Mark Jurkovich, member of the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs, who represented the Association on the WEDI Executive Steering Committee. "Some of the key issues within this framework affecting dentistry include the ability to provide information to and for our patients quickly, obtaining information from other health care setting promptly and being able to do this in a way where all of the systems can communicate electronically in order to improve efficiency. That is one of the main reasons the ADA has been involved with WEDI."

WEDI is the leading authority on the use of health information technology to improve health care information exchange to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency and reduce the costs of the U.S. health care system, according to a news release. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the 1996 HIPAA legislation designated it an advisor to HHS.

"Like the WEDI report that I initiated in 1993 that became the roadmap for electronic business solutions for health care in the 1990s, the 2013 WEDI report and recommendations will serve as the roadmap that will lead to greater efficiency and improved health care delivery in the years ahead," said Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, who now serves on the board of directors for Henry Schein.