Government Activity Heating Up on Health-Data Exchange


The seamless electronic exchange of health-care records has long been a goal of the federal government, and several upcoming initiatives may help reach that goal.

For example, two stakeholder forums centered on health-data exchange are on tap, with the first likely coming by the end of September, Genevieve Morris, the principal deputy national coordinator in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), recently told me.

Morris also said the ONC is accepting stakeholder comments on health-data exchange through Aug, 25, and plans to make the comments public. By the end of the year the ONC will release a draft document focused on the trusted exchange framework and common agreement, Morris said.

Section 4003 of the 21st Century Cures Act requires the ONC (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) to develop both an exchange framework to boost electronic data exchange and a common agreement that will include details on authenticating health information network participants, a common set of rules for information exchange, and policies and procedures governing the exchange of information among health networks.

Health-data exchange, also known as interoperability, is vital for providers as they make the switch from a fee-for-service payment model to a value-based payment system, Morris said. Providers will need to have greater amounts of patient data when submitting claims under the new system, she said.

A newly formed committee, the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee, will also help expand health-data exchange, Morris said. The Government Accountability Office recently appointed 15 members to the committee, and Morris said the ONC is still reviewing applications for three committee seats for which it’s responsible.

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