EHRA Holds its Ground in Response to ONC Information Blocking Report | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

EHRA Holds its Ground in Response to ONC Information Blocking Report

November 16, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The HIMSS EHR Association (EHRA) has provided some more clarification on its position regarding the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) report on information blocking that it released this past April.

The April ONC report detailed several examples of electronic health record (EHR) developers and health systems blocking health information sharing between each other. The act of information blocking occurs when an entity or person knowingly and unreasonably interferes with the exchange of electronic health information.

In October, EHRA, comprised of nearly 40 electronic health record vendors, called the ONC report into question, saying that “the concept of ‘information blocking’ is still very heterogeneous, mixing perception, descriptive, and normative issues in ways that are not easily untangled.  As a result, this concept and ‘label’ does not provide a good basis yet for policy actions or enforcement, as it could encompass a broad range of actions, few of which are likely to warrant civil or other penalties,” EHRA said at the time.

Now, in a more recent statement on its blog, EHRA has held its ground in response to “press coverage characterizing its comments as negative.” EHRA says that it clarified that charging for interface software and services should not be considered information blocking, as there are real costs incurred by EHR developers and other health IT companies in building and maintaining interfaces. It also reiterated its support for a standards-based approach to connectivity which, over time, can reduce these costs.  “But we also pointed out that there are a large number of stakeholders – e.g., public health agencies – which are not compelled to use the same standards; until they are, systemic costs will continue to be higher than necessary,” the statement says.

The post continues, “EHRA has seen evidence that provider and patient demand for data exchange is growing, primarily driven by new payment and delivery models, as well as increased patient engagement.  Over time, as these new financial systems gain traction, this will reduce any perverse incentives to block information that may exist, and instead focus provider organizations and software developers more clearly on addressing current interoperability challenges.”

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

ONC Roundup: Senior Leadership Changes Spark Questions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has continued to experience changes within its upper leadership, leading some folks to again ponder what the health IT agency’s role will be moving forward.

Media Report: Walmart Hires Former Humana Executive to Run Health Unit

Reigniting speculation that Walmart and insurer Humana are exploring ways to forge a closer partnership, Walmart Inc. has hired a Humana veteran to run its health care business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Value-Based Care Shift Has Halted, Study Finds

A new study of 451 physicians and health plan executives suggests that progress toward value-based care has stalled. In fact, it may have even taken a step backward over the past year, the research revealed.

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.