ONC, FTC Announce Collaboration To Boost Competition in Health IT

October 8, 2014 in News

On Tuesday, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Federal Trade Commission in companion blog posts announced plans to collaborate to help promote competition in health IT, FierceHealthIT reports.

According to FierceHealthIT, both organizations outlined key issues identified during an FTC workshop on health IT competition held last spring (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 10/7).

Details of ONC Blog Post

In the ONC blog post, ONC Policy Director Jodi Daniel and Karson Mahler, a policy analyst at the agency, wrote that the workshop identified “plenty of reasons to be encouraged about ways that competition is working to deliver interoperable systems and services” but also found that “health IT markets are not functioning as efficiently as they could be.”

Daniel and Mahler wrote that ONC would collaborate with FTC to address several concerns outlined in the workshop, including:

  • A lack of comparability and transparency in the health IT market;
  • A lack of interoperability in the health IT market; and
  • Business practices in the health IT market that obstruct the electronic sharing of health data.

Specifically, they noted that ONC would work with FTC to “better understand market dynamics related to health IT” and “formulate policies that advance patient care through competition and innovation.” ONC also will continue to monitor business practices that could obstruct interoperability or competition, as well as sharing data with FTC and helping the agency investigate questionable business practices (Daniel/Mahler, “Health IT Buzz,” 10/7).

Details of FTC Blog Post

In a blog post for FTC, agency officials affirmed the collaboration.

The blog was written by:

  • Tara Koslov, deputy director of FTC’s Office of Policy Planning;
  • Markus Meier, assistant director of the health care division of FTC’s Bureau of Competition; and
  • David Schmidt, FTC’s assistant director of applied research and outreach.

They wrote that the agency is “benefitting from ONC’s expertise and industry knowledge as [FTC] learn[s] more about how health IT markets operate, which health IT features are designed by providers and patients, and what types of conduct may benefit or harm health IT competition and innovation” (Koslov et al., FTC blog, 10/7).

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