2016 OIG Work Plan continues EHR scrutiny

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The federal government ups its scrutiny of EHRs in the newest Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Work Plan.

According to the plan, OIG says it will for the first time review the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's oversight of medical devices networked to EHRs.

"We will examine whether FDA's oversight of hospitals' networked medical devices is sufficient to effectively protect associated electronic protected health information [ePHI] and ensure beneficiary safety. Computerized medical devices, such as dialysis machines, radiology systems and medication dispensing systems that are integrated with electronic medical records and the larger health network, pose a growing threat to the security and privacy of personal health information."

OIG also intends to review the adequacy of OIG's oversight of the security of ePHI. The plan doesn't specify where ePHI is usually found but most is contained in EHRs.

OIG noted that its security of health IT will increase and "expects to broaden its portfolio regarding information privacy and security, including issues that arise from the continuing expansion of the Internet of Things." The agency has previously expressed concern about EHRs and program integrity and has called Meaningful Use a top management challenge. 

Other health IT-related issues continue from last year's work plan including:

  • The use of EHRs to support care coordination by accountable care organizations
  • Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use incentive payments
  • The security of certified EHR technology under Meaningful Use
  • Compliance with the EHR contingency planning requirements of HIPAA
  • The extent to which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services validated hospital inpatient quality reporting data

Access the  work plan.