ASCO Submits Statement on 21st Century CURES Act and Health Information Technology

December 11, 2018

ASCO has submitted a statement for the record from ASCO Chief Executive Officer Clifford Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health related to its recent hearing, “Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act: An Update from the Office of the National Coordinator.”

Enacted on December 13, 2016, and supported by ASCO, the 21st Century Cures Act was designed to improve and accelerate the pace of biomedical research in the United States. 

ASCO’s statement focused on health information technology (HIT) within the implementation of the Cures Act, including the efforts of ASCO’s big data initiative, CancerLinQ®.

To continue to advance the quality of healthcare, seamlessly integrated health information that is easily and securely accessible to all patients is needed. The Cures Act is instrumental in these efforts as it addresses some of the technical limitations and business practices that may contribute to the current limitations of true interoperability.

The statement detailed the challenges the oncology community faces in the realm of HIT. The lack of interoperability between electronic medical records and other forms of HIT remains a pain point for oncologists. ASCO members also continue to report significant burden associated with EHR documentation, “check box” requirements, and various reporting requirements across different payers, including Medicare.

Under CancerLinQ®, ASCO is currently developing a set of “Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements” (M-CODE); this set of data elements is envisioned by ASCO to form the basis of an initial set of necessary data that should populate all electronic health records (EHRs) serving patients with cancer. These data elements would greatly streamline the exchange of basic needed data in oncology.

ASCO also outlined its support of the efforts of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) in HIT including the draft rule “Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs” and the proposed rule, “21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program.”

ASCO commends the Subcommittee for its leadership and bipartisan work on this issue. The Society looks forward to continuing to work with the Subcommittee as the implementation of 21st Century Cures continues.

Read the full statement.

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