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Survey: Most Providers Not Confident in ONC’s Interoperability Plan

August 11, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Just 17 percent of surveyed healthcare providers said they are confident that the industry will meet the 10-year goal for nationwide interoperability, set last year by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

The survey, from Austin, Tx.–based document management solutions provider Scrypt, polled more than 700 healthcare providers to gauge their opinions of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance in the wake of several high profile healthcare-related data breaches. It revealed that staff or human error is the biggest concern in terms of a potential HIPAA breach within healthcare organizations, despite that fact that 98 percent of respondents have policies in place to keep staff informed about changes in HIPAA compliance within their own practice.

But the survey also found that providers are not generally confident in ONC’s 10-year interoperability plan. By 2024, individuals, providers, communities, and researchers should have an array of interoperable health IT products and services that allow the healthcare system to continuously learn and advance the goal of improved healthcare, according to ONC’s 10-year plan it laid out in June 2014. In the paper, “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure," ONC laid out a broad vision and framework, offering five critical building blocks for achieving its goals, while also unveiling its expectations for three, six and 10 years down the road.

The agency’s three-year agenda is to send, receive, find, and use health information to improve healthcare quality; it’s six-year agenda is to use information to improve healthcare quality and lower cost; and its 10-year plan is to have a health IT infrastructure that will support better health for all through a more connected healthcare system and active individual health management. By year 10, information sharing will be improved at all levels of public health, and research will better generate evidence that is delivered to the point of care. Advanced, more functional technical tools will enable innovation and broader uses of health information to further support health research and public health, the paper said.

“Interoperability in 10 years is unquestionably a worthy goal, but our experience has shown that this is a complex area and providers need secure universal solutions in the interim,” Scrypt CEO, Aleks Szymanski said in a statement about the survey’s results.

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