ONC tunes rulemaking to favor innovation

February 25, 2014 in Medical Technology

Terms like “bug fixes” and “development lifecycle” do not exactly conjure images of policymakers at work. Until now, that is. 

When the Office of the National Coordinator for health IT circulated proposed rules for 2015 EHR certification, it signaled a change in its approach— away from the traditional rulemaking toward a model resembling software development lifecycles. 

“More frequent rulemaking will allow more time for innovation,” said Steve Posnack, director of ONC’s policy division, adding that less time between cycles makes the entire process more nimble. 

ONC is aiming for what chief medical officer Jacob Reider dubbed the 3 “P’s”  —predictability, participation and preparedness. 

“We’re giving you a much longer heads-up so you can be more prepared and so we can be more prepared,” Reider explained during a late-breaking session at HIMSS14 here. 

Stakeholders can participate via public comments. “We want to put out regulations on a regular basis so you can have a more predictable timetable.” 

Highlights of the notice of proposed rulemaking for voluntary 2015 EHR certification include: splitting CPOE into three criteria, working with FDA on implantable devices, transitions of care, clinical quality measure for population filtering, syndromic surveillance, and a proposal to discontinue complete EHR certification.  

Jodi Daniel, director of ONC’s policy and planning added that the NPRM, while not a requirement for vendors or providers, is designed to address bug fixes and advance interoperability. She noted that it’s not a requirement for vendors or providers.

The new feedback loop is part and parcel in the software development realm, where startups and stalwarts alike put early versions of applications into willing customer’s hands, solicit feedback and sculpt each new iteration accordingly. 

“As opposed to waiting three years and having a big drop, we’re moving more in line with traditional software development lifecycles,” said Doug Fridsma, director of ONC’s office of science and technology. 

The software development lifecycle is a tested model in IT and involving more stakeholders could be a boon to vendors and providers alike. 

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/onc-tunes-rulemaking-favor-innovation

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