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ONC Seeking Public Input on Measuring Interoperability Progress

April 8, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is asking for feedback from the healthcare community about specific metrics and data that can be used to measure the progress of interoperability.

In a blog post Thursday, Seth Pazinski, director of ONC’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Analysis and Talisha Searcy, director of research and evaluation at OPEA, announced that ONC has issued a request for information for public input on how to measure interoperability.

“The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) “declares it a national objective to achieve the widespread exchange of health information through the use of interoperable certified electronic health records and directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish metrics in consultation with you—the health IT community—to see if that objective has been met,” Pazinski and Searcy wrote.

 “We are issuing a request for information for your thoughts for how to measure interoperability and ensure HHS is keeping pace with the objectives we laid out in the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap and the Federal Health IT Strategic plan to measure the broad health information ecosystem, including individuals and non-health settings,” Pazinski and Searcy wrote.

Specifically, ONC is asking for input on three topics:

  • What populations and elements of information flow should we measure?
  • How can we use current data sources and associated metrics to address the MACRA requirements?
  • What other data sources and metrics should HHS consider to measure interoperability more broadly?

Public comments are due by June 3, 2016.

“Ensuring health data flows seamlessly and securely to create a learning, person-centered health system is a common theme of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, a collaboration with over 35 federal partners and the public that focuses federal offices that use or influence the use of health information technology on person-centered care, advancement of science, and overall health,” Pazinski and Searcy wrote in the blog post. “Similarly, the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap was an effort by ONC in collaboration with the private sector, states, and federal partners to identify near-term actions to advance an interoperable health system. Combined with other recent announcements, including the pledges made by private sector market leaders to make electronic health information flow better and the challenges issued to spur innovation of market-ready, user-friendly apps for consumers and providers, these efforts all help to support the flow of health information when and where it is needed for patient care.”

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