Feds resolve to facilitate health data exchange in 2013

A new funding opportunity announced late last week will pave the way.

Easing the way of a nationwide health information network will be a major priority for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in 2013, with a new funding opportunity announcement issued late last week paving the way.

With the Dec. 20 announcement, ONC declares its intention to collaborate with organizations already involved in governing electronic health information exchanges, writes Dr. Farzad Mostashari, who heads the office, in the Health IT Buzz Blog.

Other initiatives for promoting health information exchange governance in 2013, according to Mostashari, include:

  • Hosting an open listening session in January on health information exchange governance.
  • Having the HIT Police Committee and HIT Standards Committee hold a public hearing, on Jan. 29, on providers’ needs under new payment models and opportunities to strengthen health information exchange governance, among other topics.
  • Supporting the National e-health Collaborative’s first-quarter meeting of governance stakeholders.
  • Publishing governance guidelines for electronic health information exchanges.
  • Launching a governance monitoring program.

“The overarching goal for ONC remains that the information follow the patient where and when it is needed, across organizational, vendor, and geographic boundaries,” Mostashari writes.

ONC announced in September that it would not issue federal regulations for nationwide health information exchange governance, but would support existing governance initiatives and work to improve interoperability and trust among exchange participants. ONC also wants to make nationwide exchange of health data less complex and costly, Mostashari notes.