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AMIA Submits Feedback on ONC’s Interoperability Framework

July 31, 2017
by Heather Landi
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The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) recently submitted comments to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) Proposed Interoperability Standards Measurement Framework. The association expressed support for the development of a measurement framework for interoperability standards while also urging ONC to focus on developing interoperability measurement standards that deliver high value for the data collected or by making measures easy to report.

In a letter to National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Donald Rucker, M.D., AMIA wrote that the draft framework was “thoughtful and rightly identified current gaps, challenges and opportunities.” Further, the association wrote, “We believe that various important policy questions would be informed by data collected as part of such a measurement framework, as well as provide a window into our progress toward nationwide interoperability.” For example, as the industry moves from local coding for laboratory results to LOINC, away from a legacy set of standards based on the Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (CCDA) towards a Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR)-based ecosystem, it will be important to understand the details of this transition, the association said.

The association also recommended that the measurement areas have a positive benefit/burden ratio for those being measured, either by delivering high value for the data collected or by making measures easy to report. In particular, AMIA suggests that measure reporting be automated whenever possible, target high-value standards and use cases and deliver value to those stakeholders being measured.

We underscore the need to have the benefits of measurement outweigh the costs, and that there is sufficient effort to develop and implement automated measurement solutions. As the work moves forward, we urge ONC to be very mindful of the potential burdens associated with additional measurement and to carefully balance the burdens of measurement with expected benefits.

What’s more, the association said that as the field moves from surveys to more automated reporting, it urges ONC to focus on guidance to industry on what may be used in voluntary and optional automated data collection before there is any definitive shift from surveys to automated collection. “It is essential that measurement not become an end in and of itself and that we recognize the costs to clinicians, developers and others in developing and implementing automated solutions,” AMIA wrote.

The organization also urged ONC to take a measurement approach that focuses on the clinician and patient experience.

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