Health IT for Pediatric Care: Will the 21st Century Cures Act Move the Needle?

Health IT for Pediatric Care: Will the 21st Century Cures Act Move the Needle?

Health IT for Pediatric Care: Will the 21st Century Cures Act Move the Needle?

By Dr. Sue Kressly

Since the inception of the HITECH Act in 2009, the major focus of Health IT has been in caring for adult patients and populations. For the past ten years, pediatricians have added our voices to every discussion reminding stakeholders that children are not just little adults, and they have specific needs regarding Health IT. The pediatric voice led by passionate Pediatrician Clinical Informatacists and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was able to make some headway with the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act.

The 21st Century Cures Act, has regulations for interoperability, information blocking, and most exciting for children, the voluntary certification of health IT for use by pediatric health care providers. The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has outlined 10 specific recommendations, which just so happen to align beautifully with the criteria that experts from the AAP have been promoting for pediatric EHR functionality. The pediatric community is well represented on the Health IT for the Care Continuum Task Force and on which I have the honor and privilege to participate.

Several of the recommendations revolve around safe medication prescribing practices such as calculating weight based dosing where appropriate and facilitating awareness of safe maximum dosing recommendations. The ability to document all guardians and caregivers is one that Office Practicum users already enjoy, since we can add as many contact people and roles as are appropriate for our patients. However, this is not universally available across the industry. Neither is the ability to protect sensitive patient information at a granular level. Not only does OP have the ability to restrict information, we are actively working to improve that functionality. Transferring the accessible data is one that is going to take industry partners to solve. Protecting the privacy of our patient’s information is crucial, but we also need to feel confident that if we send it somewhere, it will also be protected.

These are exciting times and OP is proud to partner with our community to advance Health IT for pediatricians and children!

Sue Kressly, MD, FAAP

Medical Director, OP