On August 10-11, 2020 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) held its summer Tech Forum (see full agenda). This was a change in focus and format from their annual Interoperability Forum that has been held for the past several years. This year the forum was held virtually for the first time. The purpose of the forum was to convene industry experts and Federal partners to discuss technical innovations in health information technology and their potential impacts on the healthcare ecosystem. Senior ONC staff moderated the sessions, and I saw many of the “usual suspects” as well as some new faces presenting.
Dr. Noam Arzt, President of HLN, recorded a session for the NACCHO360 Virtual Conference available during the week of July 6 for registered attendees in the Information and Technology track. Titled, “Interoperability Update for Public Health: What’s In Store for the Coming Decade,” this talk reviews major developments in healthcare interoperability that will affect public health over the coming years.
On June 10, 2020 the US Senate released a white paper titled “Preparing for the Next Pandemic” under the signature of Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The white paper has five recommendations to address future pandemics based on lessons learned from COVID-19 and the past 20 years of pandemic planning. “The five recommendations…along with a series of questions at the end of this white paper, are intended to elicit recommendations that Congress can consider and act on this year,” Alexander said in a statement, adding that “I am inviting comments, responses, and any additional recommendations for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to consider. This feedback will be shared with my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican.” This feedback from the public will be accepted until June 26, 2020 and can be submitted to PandemicPreparedness@help.senate.gov.
On March 9, 2020 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released its final rule on the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program. Referred to by some people as the “Information Blocking Rule,” since this is the primary topic, the document actually covers a host of other issues related to interoperability driven primarily by requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. In addition to the final rule itself you can read the ONC press release, a comparison between the proposed and final rules, and lots of other resources. The final rule was officially be published in the Federal Register on May 1, 2020.