HIT Policy Committee Seeks Data Portability Improvements | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

HIT Policy Committee Seeks Data Portability Improvements

November 6, 2013
by David Raths
| Reprints
Policymakers want to ease EHR vendor switching by defining elements of core clinical record that could be consumed by other systems
Micky Tripathi

Market surveys suggest that 20 to 30 percent of providers could switch EHR vendors in the next two years, yet the difficulty of migrating between vendors can be a barrier to switching. It can also be a barrier to the continuity of care for patients who are switching providers. At its Nov. 6 meeting, the Health IT Policy Committee asked that the Standards Committee begin work on defining the elements of a core clinical record that would establish a first step on the path toward improved data portability for patients and providers.

Micky Tripathi, president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, reported on two use cases that he said need addressing: providers switching from one EHR system to another and a patient requesting the movement of their complete record to a new primary care provider.

Tripathi argued that establishing the elements of a core clinical record would inspire greater market dynamism by lowering barriers to exit for providers and patients, and promote safety and continuity of care by reducing opportunities for errors. At the same time, he said, there is a lot of work ahead to reach these goals and his work group recommends a multiple-step path to get the healthcare community there.

Several policy committee members mentioned how difficult it would be to identify common elements that could move easily between systems, especially if the goal were to include something in Stage 3 of meaningful use. Terry Cullen, M.D., director of informatics at the Veterans Health Administration, noted that her agency’s efforts at a similar project with the Department of Defense have been notoriously difficult. “It is a slow-moving animal and this will take a lot of work,” she said. Even though she views it as important work, Cullen recommended focusing on one small, encapsulated use case and see how difficult it is. “I am worried we will push something out that people will not be able to do.” Yet the committee voted to seek input from the standards committee.

A separate presentation dealt with the privacy and security considerations for data intermediaries such as quality registries. The Privacy and Security Tiger Team reported that third-party service providers don’t have clear rules for their use of data beyond the service they are hired to perform. There is little transparency about the business associate agreements they sign with providers.

Deven McGraw, director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology and a co-chair of the Tiger Team, said the discussion raised concerns that the superior bargaining power of large data intermediaries results in providers feeling “forced” to grant the business associates broad rights to future uses and disclosures of provider data. Yet ultimately, the Tiger Team could not identify an appropriate policy lever to hold business associates accountable for greater transparency to providers around their uses and disclosures of identifiable health information.

“We think this is an important issue, although we have only anecdotal evidence,” McGraw said. “We just haven’t figured out how to resolve it.”

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



Trump will Nominate Acting VA Secretary Wilkie for Permanent Position

Just a day after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Cerner inked their $10 billion EHR (electronic health record) deal, President Trump said he would be nominating Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie for the permanent position.

ONC Names API Server Showdown Stage 2 Winner

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has named 1UpHealth as the Stage 2 winner of the “Secure API Server Showdown” challenge.

EHNAC Developing Trusted Exchange Accreditation Program

To align with the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission, a nonprofit standards development organization and accrediting body, is working with other organizations to establish a new Trusted Exchange Accreditation Program.

Lawmakers Demand New VA CIO, Citing “Malign Neglect” on EHR Project

A group of Democratic federal lawmakers, five senators and six members of Congress, are calling out the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for what they call “malign neglect” in the agency’s efforts to achieve electronic health record (EHR) modernization.

Medical Record Access Proves Costly for Some Patients, GAO Report Finds

Federal law requires healthcare providers to give patients access to their medical records, but according to a new GAO report, some patients believe they’re being charged too much to access their records.

Parkland’s Innovation Bridge Takes ‘Genius Bar’ Approach to Digital Health Apps

Taking inspiration from the Apple Genius Bar and Ochsner Health System’s O Bar, the Dallas-based Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation in collaboration with Parkland Health & Hospital System has opened an “Innovation Bridge” to assist patients with health-related apps.