ONC Asks for Input on Forthcoming Metadata Rules In what’s known as an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) this week published a 32-page document outlining how they foresee instituting metadata standards to support nationwide electronic health information exchange. Following intensive study from the HIT Policy Committee, HIT Standards Committee and a separately commissioned report, ONC is considering three categories of metadata standards: (1) patient identity (2) provenance and (3) privacy. ONC is also considering whether or not to limit metadata requirements, in the near term, to a “use case” involving summary care records. Specifically, ONC is suggesting the immediate scope be a “scenario where a patient obtains a summary care record from a healthcare provider’s electronic health record technology or requests for it to be transmitted to their personal health record.”
The ANPRM includes in excess of 20 specific questions, with opportunities to comment on an even wider range of assumptions and considerations. After reviewing public comments, ONC will likely include proposed rules for metadata in the broader NPRM for Meaningful Use Stage 2 certification, which are due out early 2012.
Congresswoman Asks HHS to Study Health IT Errors In a letter sent (.pdf) to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday, North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers requested that the Secretary consider a study of health IT's benefits and cost effectiveness, while focusing on medical error rates. Specifically, Rep. Ellmers wants HHS to focus on health IT adoption rate among providers, the benefits of using such systems and the cost effectiveness of implementing a networked health infrastructure. She is also requesting that failure rates among electronic medical equipment, including computerized IV systems, electronic prescribing hardware and errant digital health records be part of the study. "As technology rapidly evolves, I ask that you consider a study of health IT's adoption, benefits and cost effectiveness," Rep. Ellmers wrote. "As part of the study, I hope you will also consider medical error rates—both human and technological—so that all errors can be better assessed and prevented."
CMS to ‘Kick the Tires’ On HIPAA 5010 during Weeklong Test The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced recently that providers and other organizations that process Medicare claims can test (.pdf) the compliance of their software systems with the ASC X12 Version 5010 data-exchange standards. Providers and other covered entities must comply with the new HIPAA 5010 standard for electronic processing of claims and other transactions by Jan. 1, 2012. According to CMS, a real-time help desk and Medicare administrative contractors will provide details on the transactions that will be tested as well as provide assistance to providers who participate. The testing period begins August 22–26.