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Federal agencies should align to Medicare pay so it supports interoperability seamlessly within paperless systems, the American Medical Association (AMA) plus other medicine groups have urged.

If the USA is serious about achieving goals of an efficient and high quality health care system, it will need to improve health information exchanges and interoperability, AMA along with organized medicine groups told federal health officials.

As the American health care system moves away from paper records and spurs the use of electronic health records (EHRs), the AMA warns that serious gaps in the adoption of health information technology remain.

Under the Obama administration, billions of dollars have been spend on EHR adoptions programs to physicians and hospitals since 2011, with not much progress, critics say.

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology had recently invited comments on how interoperability could be advanced, as well as overcoming the challenges to health information exchanges. The AMA as well as more than 200 organized medicine groups and other key stakeholders responded with new ideas on how the current EHR environment could improve.

The AMA urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to concentrate on providing doctors with incentives that promote greater care coordination across the health care system.

For example, Medicare does not pay for email consultations, support for patient self-management or consults with other doctors. The AMA believes it should consider paying for this because care coordination depends on good communication.

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