ONC Publicly Releases Comments on Interoperability Roadmap

May 18, 2015 in News

On Friday, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT published nearly 250 comments that it received on its draft nationwide interoperability roadmap, Politico‘s “Morning eHealth” reports (Pittman, “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 5/18).

Background

The draft roadmap, titled “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Draft Version 1.0,” aims to achieve basic electronic health data interoperability by 2017.

It outlines short- and long-term goals for the next 10 years, with 2017 set as the deadline by which “a majority of individuals and providers across the care continuum” should be able “to send, receive, find and use a common set of electronic clinical information.”

In addition, the document outlines 10 updated guiding principles for achieving nationwide interoperability over a 10-year period based on stakeholder feedback (iHealthBeat, 4/6).

According to “Morning eHealth,” ONC plans to release a revised version of the roadmap this summer (“Morning eHealth,” Politico, 5/18).

Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation Comments

In comments from the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation, Executive Director Teresa Lee said AHHQI supports ONC’s efforts in “focusing attention” on nationwide interoperability.

AHHQI also commended ONC for including home health care, long-term care and post-acute care in the roadmap, noting that interoperability is “critical to providing high quality care” in such settings.

As such, she noted that rural communities likely will “benefit more than urban [communities] from supporting and developing models for interoperability across the care continuum.”

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Comments

Meanwhile, Andrew Schlafly — general counsel at the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons — said that ONC was overstepping its bounds and interfering with the free market.

AAPS urged the federal government to “scale back its proposals,” noting that “systems for managing medical data are more likely to develop faster and with more efficient results in the absence of government involvement” (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 5/18).

Center for Healthcare Transparency Comments

In its comments, the Center for Healthcare Transparency said that ONC’s roadmap marks a step toward the group’s goals of advancing interoperability.

However, CHT urged ONC to expand its focus beyond clinical data to also include the integration of claims data or risk “larger problems down the road.” Doing so would provide ONC with the “opportunity to make good on [its] invitation to stakeholders to take on ownership of the Roadmap and its deliverables with you and other federal and state partners,” the group said (CHT comments, April 2015).

HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association Comments

In its comments, the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association applauded ONC for its “collaborative” effort.

However, HIMSS EHRA raised some concerns, such as the roadmap’s:

  • “[A]mbitious” timeline; and
  • Definition of scope that omits workflow and administrative data.

The group made several recommendations, including:

  • Applying security protections beyond EHRs to include every aspect of interoperability; and
  • Leveraging current health information exchange projects that have successfully achieved some of the roadmap’s goals (Segal et al., HIMSS EHRA comments, 4/3).

National Rural HIT Coalition Comments

Joe Wivoda, CIO of the National Rural HIT Coalition, expressed the group’s support for the roadmap.

Wivoda said that rural health care providers currently face “unique challenges” that are affected by interoperability, including:

  • Broad referral networks;
  • Limited health IT workforce; and
  • Provider shortages (Healthcare IT News, 5/18).
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