5 Important Health IT Stories You Might Have Missed This Year
Healthcare Industry News
There’s a lot going on in the health IT world these days, but sometimes it’s hard to weed the important news from the noise. With multiple interoperability deadlines due to hit next year, much of the coverage is on what’s going to happen, rather than what is—or has—happened so far.
Below are 5 news stories on recent events that you might have missed this year.
Oct. 31 Deadline to Join Central Repository Set to Launch in 2017
Next week is the deadline for hospitals and practices interested in participating in the central data repository the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are launching in 2017. The repository will help practices and hospitals meet meaningful use requirements for public health reporting by pointing them toward agencies and registries able to accept electronic health data.
Public Comments Are Now Closed on Draft of 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory
ONC posted the current draft of the 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) in August of this year; comments closed on Monday, Oct. 24th, at 5:00pm ET, however, you can still review the drafted standards.
The standards focus on clinical health information technology interoperability and it’s updates and improvements; the latest draft reflects the recommendations received from public comments and the Health IT Standards Committee on previous drafts.
The biggest changes from the 2016 standards advisory and the 2017 draft are listed out in the introduction to the document and include:
- Movement to an interactive, web-based format for the standards themselves.
- Elimination of the phrase “best available” as an overall concept for the ISA.
- The addition of “Applicable Starter Set(s).”
- Links to active projects that demonstrate an ISA-listed standard, to showcase ongoing implementations.
“A full 46% of respondents actually indicated that their understanding was ‘weak’.”
AHA to ONC: We Need More Transparency on Interoperability Standard Success
Shortly after comments closed on the draft of the 2017 Interoperability Standards, Healthcare IT News reported that the American Hospital Association (AHA) had sent a letter to National Coordinator Vindell Washington, MD, saying the draft ISA should include more information distinguishing between mature and emerging standards.
The letter said that a standard might have a high adoption rate due to health IT certification requirements rather than because it meets provider needs—and requested that the 2017 ISA include successful use of included standards and not just adoption rates.
ONC to Directly Review Certified EHR Technology
On Oct. 14th, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) finalized the ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and Accountability ruling, which, among other things, authorizes the agency to directly review health IT.
The goal of the ruling, according to the official fact sheet, is to provide enhanced oversight and health information technology developer oversight.
In addition to standing up a regulatory framework for direct review, the ruling aligned testing lab oversight with the existing processes for ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs), and makes a more comprehensive set of ONC-ACB results publicly available.
The Patient Engagement Playbook Released by ONC
In September the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released The Health Information Technology Patient Engagement Playbook.
The Playbook provides providers with information that can help them make wiser decisions when it comes to their technology investments, including links to other important documents (like the EHR contract guide), an interactive map that can point providers to possible federal support and funding, and information on the Health IT Certification Program, health information exchange, and alternative payment methods.
The Playbook is entirely digital and interactive, allowing it to be regularly updated and accessed easily from any web browser.
BONUS: 2016 HL7 Interface Technology Survey Results Released
Core Health Technologies surveyed over 160 HL7 CIOs, VPs, managers, and analysts for our annual HL7 Technology Survey to create an industry benchmark on topics ranging from version and function usage to HL7 business challenges.
Our results showed what industry news outlets have been reporting for some time—healthcare organizations are currently using a wide variety of interface technologies. Most, however, rely on a few major vendors as a primary engine (Cloverleaf, Rhapsody, Mirth Connect, and Corepoint topped this list).
Yet understanding of interoperability remains poor. Only 4% of respondents indicated that their understanding of FHIR, the latest standard to be developed under the HL7 organization, was “strong” or “extensive.” A full 46% of respondents actually indicated that their understanding was “weak.”
Interested in the full results? Access the survey results here.