The 21st Century Cures Act set the table for development of new interoperability standards, in the form of a “trusted exchange framework and common agreement,” and the federales are ginning up the apparatus to receive input from interested parties. The first listening session is scheduled for later this month (July 24) and will be webcast. There are two more listening sessions scheduled, and ONC plans to have a regulatory proposal out by the end of the calendar year.
These meetings will allow us to gather information about successful network to network exchange of health information, as outlined in the Cures Act. As part of the first meeting, ONC will share the results of a recent analysis of existing frameworks that support the interoperable flow of health information across disparate networks and supportive principles related to enabling trusted exchange nationally.
Following the kick-off meeting, ONC will begin a 30-day public comment period for stakeholders to provide feedback on how best to support or develop the trusted exchange framework and common agreement called for in Cures. ONC will establish an online process for comment submission and will share more details on July 24th and at HealthIT.gov.
ONC recently offered some insight into its focus in developing the new regulations:
Broadly, the ONC is focusing on three interoperability use cases: patient access to data—including how to easily transfer health information from on provider to another; enterprise accountability to ensure providers can access data in bulk to use analytics; and open competition and access to application programming interface (API).
Earlier today, I moderated a webinar on the issues surrounding interoperability in health IT, and the expert consensus was that the marketplace is taking care of this issue. Yes, there will be new government standards, but market leaders on both the health IT side and on the provider side have not been waiting for the federales to establish new standards; they are building solutions and are engaged in the business of managing patients and populations using tools that are already available. Perhaps the regulatory push will create greater impetus form more market participants to get involved.
Update 7/17/2017: Here’s the webinar for your viewing and listening pleasure:
If you are interested in either proceeding independently or putting together a group of like-minded folk to work together and submit comments to ONC on what the new standards should look like, please let me know if I may be of service.