Groups’ Reaction to ONC’s Interoperability Plan Generally Positive

June 10, 2014 in News

Early reactions to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s 10-year interoperability plan generally have been positive, FierceHealthIT reports (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 6/9).

Details of Plan

Last week, ONC released a paper outlining a 10-year plan to achieve an interoperable health IT infrastructure in an effort to reduce costs while improving population health and patient engagement.

The paper — titled “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: a 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure” — outlines goals the agency hopes to achieve over a three-, six- and 10-year time period.

Within three years, the agency expects to have:

  • Developed a nationwide interoperability roadmap based on current health information exchange approaches; and
  • Leveraged technologies that promote query-based data exchange and point-to-point data sharing.

Within six years, the agency expects to have:

  • “Enhanced interoperability” to allow health care providers from various settings — including schools and prisons — to share patient data; and
  • Integrate currently disparate information sources, such as multipayer claims databases and clinical data registries, into the health care delivery system.

By 2024, the agency said it expects patients to be able to use their own personal electronic devices to:

  • Manage their data; and
  • Share their data across various platforms with multiple providers (iHealthBeat, 6/5).

CHIME Reaction

Jeff Smith, director of public policy at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, in an interview with FierceHealthIT said that although the plan is important, it still needs to get “a little bit more down into the weeds.”

He added, “The issues that are being raised in this document are not unlike issues that were raised two, three, five, 10 years ago.” He noted that although “seeing ONC spotlight interoperability and health information exchange is a very good thing,” what the industry “need[s] to see next is how they want to turn that policy into reality.”

Health IT Now Reaction

Meanwhile, Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White in a statement called the plan “refreshing” and “long overdue” (FierceHealthIT, 6/9).

He said, “Automating yesterday’s health system wasn’t and isn’t the answer.  We need to achieve ONC’s vision more rapidly to give patients the technology they need to actively engage in their own health and wellness.”

White also outlined several recommendations for ONC, calling on the agency to:

  • Dramatically advance the timeframe for achieving interoperability;
  • Use its resources and authority to stop “data silos or business practices” that pose a barrier to health information exchange; and
  • Work with standards development organizations to write the necessary technical terminology, data content and templates to promote data exchange.

White also called on Congress and the Obama administration to provide ONC with the tools it needs to successfully execute its plan (Health IT Now blog, 6/5).

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