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HLN Attends August ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum

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HLN Attends August ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum

Last week I attended with my colleague Mike Berry the ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum. This meeting was convened under the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress in la ...

Last week I attended with my colleague Mike Berry the ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum. This meeting was convened under the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress in late 2016. Several hundred attended a series of panel presentations and discussions over one and a half days covering a variety of topics related to interoperability, including discussion of the business case for interoperability, semantics, national networks, and application programming interfaces (APIs). In many ways the speakers were “the usual suspects” involved in national networks, standards development, and HIE planning and implementation.

Nearly two years ago I wrote an essay, The Interoperability of Things, based on the collection of comments received by ONC on the draft Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. Though I asked the new National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Dr. Don Rucker, in a previous meeting if the Roadmap was still relevant and he said it was, there was absolutely no mention of this document at the Forum and it did not seem like the Roadmap was the operative guide for ONC activities or thinking. My own essay drew out a number of themes in interoperability I perceived at the time, including: lack of consensus on definition and scope; ambiguity over the role of HIEs, especially at the state level; disagreement over whether the pace of change was too fast or too slow, too general or too specific; and the complex state of consent and privacy laws across the country that really put a crimp in cross-state data sharing.

HLN Attends 2017 Netsmart Public Health Summit

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HLN Attends 2017 Netsmart Public Health Summit

Dr. Noam Arzt, President of HLN, attended  the second annual Netsmart Public Health Summit. This meeting brought together representatives from local public health agencies who prim ...

Dr. Noam Arzt, President of HLN, attended  the second annual Netsmart Public Health Summit. This meeting brought together representatives from local public health agencies who primarily use NetSmart’s public health electronic health records software. Dr. Arzt was invited to attend and he delivered a presentation on Clinical Decision Support Tools for Public Health.

Preparing for 2017: Four Important Reports

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Preparing for 2017: Four Important Reports

With so much transition ahead of us at the Federal, state, and local levels in 2017, it is important to begin to plan for what the Health IT landscapes will look like for the comin ...

With so much transition ahead of us at the Federal, state, and local levels in 2017, it is important to begin to plan for what the Health IT landscapes will look like for the coming year (and beyond). Several key reports have come out – mostly from government sources – which are worth serious consideration for any Health IT planner:

HHS Public Health 3.0 White Paper: This seminal paper sets the stage for ongoing maturation of the public health infrastructure and capability at all levels of government to continue to assure the public’s health.

ONC 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory: Now in its third year, this material gets longer and longer, and more and more complex each time. The current incarnation is a navigable website chock full of standards, though you can still download a PDF by clicking on the “2017 ISA Reference Edition” or “ISA 2017” links.

ONC 2016 Report to Congress on Health IT Progress: This HITECH-required report updates Congress about progress during the past year. While it is a really good summary of recent and current activities and initiatives, it only deals with what is really going on (or not going on) on the ground in a cursory way.

National Governors Association Road Map for States to Improve Health Information Flow Between Providers: A very detailed report aimed at State policy makers with clear guidance – and lots of examples – to try to move interoperability forward at the State level.

There are no easy answers here, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the information presented in these reports. But they cannot be ignored and can help form the basis of a solid organizational or governmental strategy.

The Reduction of State-coordinated HIE: How Should Public Health React?

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The Reduction of State-coordinated HIE: How Should Public Health React?

A recent article in HealthAffairs describes a significant decline in the number of both operational HIEs and HIEs in the planning stage from several years earlier. The authors note ...

A recent article in HealthAffairs describes a significant decline in the number of both operational HIEs and HIEs in the planning stage from several years earlier. The authors note continuing barriers to broad-based HIE and a shift to vendor-driven exchange which diminishes the effectiveness of community-based networks. In effect, this translates to a shift away from geographic-based/dominated HIEs to product-dominated HIEs. We have already noted (see The Interoperability of Things) the lack of a national strategy on HIE, and ONC’s Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap barely mentions the concept.

Consumer Access to Health Care Data: Still a Challenge

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Consumer Access to Health Care Data: Still a Challenge

Consumers continue to be frustrated with lack of access to their healthcare data, even as wearables and other consumer-targeted devices and services continue to sprout. Recently, O ...

Consumers continue to be frustrated with lack of access to their healthcare data, even as wearables and other consumer-targeted devices and services continue to sprout. Recently, ONC launched a Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge to spur the development of new applications and partnerships to provide aggregated health data to patients. While the financial “prize” for this effort is meager, recognition by ONC might be the real brass ring. This challenge focuses on the use of FHIR exclusively to support interoperability between systems and present data to consumers. I suspect that applicants will have some trouble meeting the requirements of the challenge effectively, and this is indicative of the broader challenge in supporting this type of data access.