Health IT Now Again Calls for Refocus of ONC’s Oversight Authority | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Health IT Now Again Calls for Refocus of ONC’s Oversight Authority

June 1, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The Health IT Now Coalition has once again written a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Tom Price, M.D., urging the federal agency to promote interoperability, reduce regulatory barriers, and refocus the role of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

Health IT Now (HITN) is a diverse coalition of healthcare providers, patient advocates, consumers, employers, and payers who support the adoption and use of health IT. In its May 31 letter to Sec. Price, they wrote that as Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the 21st Century Cures Act get implemented, it encourages HHS to keep the following goals in mind and perform the below actions:

  • Implement interoperability requirements in a way that maximizes data sharing and private sector standards;
  • Prevent information blocking as counter to patient safety and interoperability;
  • Refocus ONC’s role as a coordinator and facilitator of information technology, rather than a heavy-handed regulator;
  • Rescind the ONC Enhanced Oversight and Accountability final rule and conduct a thorough review of ONC’s role in the marketplace;
  • Limit the ONC certification program to verification of functionality necessary to perform measures required for participation in MACRA payment models; and
  • Prioritize implementation of virtual groups as mandated by MACRA.

This isn’t the first time the Coalition has made such recommendations and requests, particularly regarding ONC’s role moving forward. In March, it wrote a letter to Congress and the administration to work with stakeholders to “clarify what role and to what extent ONC should play in the overall regulation of health information technology, and how such a role would interact with other regulatory agencies.”

And last fall,  when ONC issued a final rule that updated the ONC Health IT Certification Program by setting up a regulatory framework for the agency to directly review certified health IT products and giving itself more direct oversight of health IT testing labs, Health IT Now Coalition executive director Robert Horne said in a statement, ONC “is clearly overstepping its statutory authority by moving forward with direct review of uncertified functionalities and products, in addition to certified products.”

In its most recent letter, the Coalition reiterated its sentiments about ONC. It said, “Recent actions taken by ONC not only overstep statutory authority, but show dedication to mission creep rather than the core directive from Congress: achieve interoperability and do so quickly. Specifically, we are concerned with the potential impact of the ONC Enhanced Oversight and Accountability final rule. We believe that provisions of this final rule are duplicative and unnecessarily burdensome and seek to extend ONC’s regulatory authority to the entire marketplace, rather than just products used by participants in the Meaningful Use program…We urge HHS to immediately rescind the ONC Enhanced Oversight and Accountability final rule and conduct a thorough review of ONC’s role in the marketplace.”

Overall, in its correspondence to Price, Health IT Now noted the new administration’s “fantastic opportunity” to “incent the uptake and use of health IT that makes providers’ lives easier and better patient outcomes through more accessible information.”

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

Study will Leverage Connecticut HIE to Help Prevent Suicides

A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.

Duke Health First to Achieve HIMSS Stage 7 Rating in Analytics

North Carolina-based Duke Health has become the first U.S. healthcare institution to be awarded the highest honor for analytic capabilities by HIMSS Analytics.

NIH Releases First Dataset from Adolescent Brain Development Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the first dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which will enable scientists to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.