The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced this week they are investing $28 million into health information exchange (HIE).
The funding is part of the ONC and HHS' effort to bolster data exchange and make EHR systems interoperable nationwide. The $28 million go towards increasing the adoption and use of interoperable health IT tools and services. The agency outlined its overall interoperability roadmap last week.
Last year, funding from the ONC's HIE State Cooperative agreement, which saw millions doled out to 56 states and territories to establish statewide HIEs, ended and left a gap for many exchange organizations. The new funding will be made in the form of cooperative agreements to states, territories, or state designated entities (SDE) to continue work under the same intent as that initial program.
"As part of the program, we seek to enable send, receive, find, and use health information in a manner that is appropriate, secure, timely, and reliable for both sender and receiver. A variety of use cases could fall into this definition including a long-term care provider’s ability to access lab results or radiological films after a patient was discharged from a hospital, as is the case in Colorado, or by linking the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Plan, as has been done in Maryland," Karen DeSalvo, M.D the National Coordinator for Health IT, wrote in a blog announcing the funding.
For the grant, ONC is seeking out HIEs that capture data from traditional and non-traditional healthcare organizations to be involved in the exchange of data. They want providers who are and are not eligible to receive incentives from the meaningful use program to be engaged. Grantees will be expected to address interoperability workflow challenges, technical issues, and improve the meaningful use of clinical data from external sources, ONC says.