The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, which is part of the strategy compiled with the Affordable Care Act, is a platform intended to usher in more innovative strategies for practices and providers. These changes are expected to be quite extensive, as the Department of Health and Human Services will be investing $840 million to these efforts over the next four years, according to a press release.

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the initiative Oct. 23 and outlined four main goals of the investment for providers moving forward, which are as follows:

  • Having electronic health record use become a day-to-day occurrence for doctors.
  • Upgraded coordination of patient care that involves primary care physicians, specialists as well as the medical community. 
  • Allowing doctors to gain better access to patient data, including prescription drug use so that doctors can gauge the best treatment.
  • Broadening the communication lines between doctors working in a team setting.

"This model will support and build partnerships with doctors and other clinicians across the country to provide better care to their patients. Clinicians want to spend time with their patients, coordinate care, and improve patient outcomes, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wants to be a collaborative partner helping clinicians achieve those goals and spread best practices across the nation," Dr. Patrick Conway, deputy administrator for innovation and quality and CMS chief medical officer, explained.

Health IT gets big boost
The dissemination of data is going to provide a healthy upgrade to the nation's current health care IT industry, which is still dealing with issues like interoperability and problems with technical assistance. Collaborative efforts such as this initiative could be a major step forward in creating a health care system that correlates with the myriad innovations that have taken place in the medical industry.

With an emphasis on better quality care, less time spent on administrative work and dollars saved due to value-based treatment, the initiative is expected to reach 150,000 clinicians over the next four years. Some of the applicants could include group practices, health care systems and coordinated care officials. The release pointed out that efforts such as these are already working in real time, as the ACA has already reduced hospital admissions in Medicare by almost 10 percent from 2007 to 2013 through more thoughtful spending initiatives.

This is yet another sign that the U.S. is putting more of a focus on the IT side of health care to deliver a better patient experience and reduce operating costs for practices.