Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Will Health IT Roadmap Incorporate Patient Data?

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Will Health IT Roadmap Incorporate Patient Data?

Article excerpt


CHICAGO -- The federal government's Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap lays out a grand vision for a single health IT ecosystem, but will it be able to enforce its own standards or be able to meaningfully incorporate the flood of patient-provided data in an era of Fitbits and Apple watches?

Those were just a few of the concerns heard by officials from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) at the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

During a listening session on the Roadmap, one attendee called for oversight and a transparent process to handle complaints much like the airline industry has for lost luggage, observing that providers already have a hard time getting industry to recognize and ' play ball" with one another.

Rules of engagement and governance are core building blocks of the Roadmap, with the ONC establishing a governance framework with rules of the road and identifying a mechanism to recognize organizations that comply with that framework. That could be thought of as a mechanism for advancing some accountability, but it's important to remember that participation in that process will be voluntary, according to Erica Galvez, interoperability portfolio manager at the ONC.

"So unless that's tied to other policy levers ... or other enforcement authorities, ONC, given its current authority, has quite a few limitations on its ability to actually affect the type of enforcement you're alluding to," she added.

The ONC does have proposals for in-field surveillance of products and additional transparency requirements associated with products, said Steven Posnack, director of the ONC Office of Standards and Technology. Still, the ONC doesn't necessarily have all the "arrows and quivers" needed to affect the enforcement and accountability some would like, he acknowledged.

Core technical standards and functions designed to help achieve the Roadmap's 3-, 6-, and 10-year milestones include consistent data formats and semantics; consistent, secure transport techniques; standard, secure services; accurate patient identity matching; and reliable resource location.

One physician in attendance called for standardizing the standards themselves, noting that there are more than 150 terminologies in use, each with its own idiosyncrasies. …

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