ONC Interoperability Roadmap Receives Mixed Reactions
October 21, 2014 in News
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s draft 10-year roadmap for achieving an interoperable health IT infrastructure has been met with some optimism, while others say it could face resistance.
Last week, ONC shared “early strategic elements” of its draft roadmap at a joint meeting of the Health IT Policy and Standards committees. The agency plans to release a final version of its 10-year national interoperability plan by the spring.
The draft report will be available for public comment in January 2015. The draft report states:
- By 2017, providers and patients should be able to send, receive, find and use basic electronic health information;
- By 2020, providers and patients should be able to contribute to and access their health information at a granular level and seamlessly use remote monitoring devices;
- By 2024, patients should be able to regularly track and share data from mobile and medical devices electronically, and providers should have increased longitudinal information to contribute to a learning health system.
Also last week, the Policy and Standards committees formally approved a set of six recommendations from the JASON task force that calls on CMS to focus efforts on public application programming interfaces (iHealthBeat, 10/16).
Jeff Smith, director of federal relations for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, said ONC’s updated draft proposal is a “marked improvement” compared with the previous version, FierceHealthIT reports.
Smith said, “[T]hings bode well for the next phase, and it sounds like ONC is taking diligence in trying to put together something that is both technically robust, as well as considerate of various policies that fall outside the purview of technical standards.”
He noted that CHIME will continue to monitor the roadmap’s progress, paying particular attention to its governance aspect. He said governance that is strong and easy to understand will be “key” in issuing final recommendations (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 10/16).
Meanwhile, CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell applauded the JASON task force’s recommendations, noting that they “incorporate a tremendous amount of stakeholder input and articulate the challenges facing our industry much more completely than previous efforts” (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 10/17).
Health Level Seven International Reaction
Charles Jaffe, CEO of Health Level Seven International, called the roadmap a “valiant” effort in achieving interoperability, according to FierceHealthIT.
He said, “There were lots of important points made,” adding, “I think there’s natural tension between trying to be innovative and trying to be prescriptive.”
Jaffe also said he agreed with the JASON task force’s recommendations (FierceHealthIT, 10/16).
Observers Say Roadmap Could Meet Resistance
Meanwhile, the lack of an incentive for many hospitals and providers to adopt electronic health records could affect the success of ONC’s proposed roadmap, Politico reports.
Steve Waldren, director of the Alliance for eHealth Innovation at the American Academy of Family Physicians, said, “From the business perspective, there’s no financial benefit for the majority of hospitals and physicians to be interoperable.”
While most physicians use EHRs, many are dissatisfied with the software, noting that it is time-consuming and difficult to use. In addition, some physicians do not necessarily want to spend more money to adopt EHRs, according to Politico (Allen, Politico, 10/20).