ONC Launches New Data Segmentation Initiative for Health Information Exchange

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By Genevieve Douglas

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Sept. 19 announced the “soft launch” of its new initiative to develop standards for the exchange of parts of a medical record, called data segmentation.

The goal of the initiative is to produce a pilot project allowing providers to share certain data from an electronic health record while not sharing others, such as information related to substance abuse treatment, ONC Chief Privacy Officer Joy Pritts wrote in a post to ONC's Health IT Buzz Blog.

The initiative also aims to enable the implementation and management of varying disclosure policies in an electronic health record that can be exchanged in an interoperable manner, Pritts said.

The initiative was launched under the ONC Standards & Interoperability Framework. The formal launch of the initiative is scheduled for Oct. 5, and will include a public webinar and presentation with a question and answer session.

The data segmentation initiative was announced by National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari Aug. 17 in a Health IT Buzz Blog post (see previous article).

The metadata tagging concept was initially introduced by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology's (PCAST) report on health IT in December (see previous article).

ONC named Johnathan Coleman, principal at Security Risk Solutions Inc., as initiative coordinator.

Call for Industry Participation

As part of the soft launch, Pritts called for health IT industry stakeholders to participate in testing and piloting data segmentation standards in health information exchange.

Testing of the data segmentation standards will be based on a reference model aligned with a set of use cases and functional requirements developed by the Standards and Interoperability community, according to the request for participation from Pritts.

ONC plans to use the initiative to develop use cases that define the current need for data protection services, such as a patient's directive not to disclose sensitive diagnoses, such as HIV, and will then extend current standards-based software models to demonstrate interoperability, ONC said.

Participation in the initiative is on a volunteer basis, and interested parties can sign up to participate on the initiative's wiki page.

The data segmentation initiative's wiki page is available at http://wiki.siframework.org/Data+Segmentation .

The ONC blog post is available at http://www.healthit.gov/buzz-blog/from-the-onc-desk/onc-launches-data-segmentation-initiative/ .

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