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CMS unveils new Data Element Library to support interoperability for post-acute care

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced what it calls the Data Element Library, aimed to help advance electronic health record interoperability in long-term and post-acute care settings.

The CMS database is free, centralized resource that allows users to see the specific data types that the agency requires nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals and other post-acute care settings to collect.

Such data elements include demographics, medical problems and other types of health evaluations. Many of them have been standardized to be the same regardless of which post-acute care facility is using them, the agency notes.

In addition, the DEL includes the IT standards that support the collection of health information. CMS officials say having the standards and those data elements in one place as one-stop shop will make it easier for health IT vendors to incorporate them into the EHRs aimed a post-acute care providers, and that integrating those data elements will allow health data to be more easily exchanged among providers.

When patients move from a rehab hospital to a skilled nursing facility, for instance – or from an SNF to home care – their health records will move across care settings more easily as they're all "speaking the same language," according to CMS.

"We’re excited to add this important building block to the foundation for interoperability that CMS is helping to establish," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement.

"The DEL supports the use and sharing of data, and aligns with MyHealthEData, a governmentwide effort strengthening the interoperability of health information," she explained. "It also closely aligns with CMS’ Patients Over Paperwork initiative focused on reducing administrative burden and costs while improving care coordination, outcomes and patients’ ability to make decisions about their own care."

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