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All-Star Cast to Examine HIE Barriers, Opportunities

January 26, 2013
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ONC policy and standards committees come together for all-day session Jan. 29

Recognizing that getting clinical data flowing is the key to extracting value from electronic health records, the federal HIT Policy Committee and HIT Standards Committee are holding a full-day joint hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 29, in Washington, D.C.

An all-star cast of providers, vendors and health information service providers set to testify on four panel topics:

• Health Information Exchange Enabling Healthcare Transformation
• Technical and Business Barriers and Opportunities
• Governance Barriers and Opportunities
• Consumer-Mediated Exchange

And if fact, the panelists written testimony is already available for review. For instance, William Spooner, senior vice president and CIO of Sharp HealthCare in San Diego,notes that the lack of mature standards around interfaces, patient consent and patient identification are significant barriers to success. He notes that ONC has nurtured the HIE space by narrowing the range of acceptable standards in moving to Stage Two of Meaningful Use, yet flexibly recognizing the role of both Exchange and Direct protocols, and Enterprise and Community operating models.   “However, the relatively short period of the HITECH funding necessarily resulted in many HIE pilots occurring simultaneously with limited opportunity for best practice models to emerge and be imitated across the industry or learning networks to share the better experiences among them.”

Michael Matthews, CEO of MedVirginia and chair of the Healtheway board of directors, notes that “even with the use of existing interoperability specifications and the development of a strong trust agreement and governance infrastructure, health information exchanges cannot survive without funding. Developing workable, scalable and realistic financial sustainability models for HIOs remains a challenge that must be addressed if we are to recognize the benefits of robust information exchange.  Most healthcare stakeholders recognize that there will be some benefit derived from health information exchange; however, the perceptions about this benefit vary dramatically between different stakeholders.  The value proposition is continuing to evolve as existing use cases are refined and new use cases are discovered.”

Other panelists include Michael Lee, M.D., director of clinical informatics at Atrius Health, and Karen Van Wagner, Ph.D, executive director of North Texas Specialty Physicians in Fort Worth, Texas.

It should be an interesting session. Participate online: