Health IT Interoperability Roadmap in the Works

As part of National Health IT Week, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, outlined its 10-year vision to achieve interoperability for health IT.

As part of National Health IT Week, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), outlined its 10-year vision to achieve interoperability for health IT.

ONC is looking to leverage health IT to increase healthcare quality and lower costs by supporting health broadly, building incrementally over time from the current technology, and maintaining focus on and empowering individuals.

“Our current priority is to focus on interoperability and getting health information to move to follow the patient,” Jodi G. Daniel, JD, MPH, director of the ONC's Office of Policy, explained during a webinar.

She said the expectations laid out were not just ONC’s vision, but what everyone needs to do jointly in order to support interoperability in healthcare. Overall, the 10-year plan is broken out into 3 time periods: 3 years, 6 years, and 10 years.

By 2017, ONC wants to ensure both providers and individuals can send, receive, find, and use a basic set of essential health information. By 2020, the vision calls for expanded sources and users of information to improve healthcare quality and lower costs, as well as increased automation.

Daniel outlined 5 building blocks to realize this 10-year interoperability vision:

• Core technical standards and functions

• Certification to support adoption and optimization of health IT products and services

• Privacy and security protections for health information

• Supportive business, clinical, cultural, and regulatory environments

• Rules of engagement and governance

“ONC will build on our existing governance framework … and principles to ensure individual access, privacy, transparency, responsible financial and business practices, and use of federal standards to support health information exchange,” she said.

Over the next few months, ONC expects to transition from this vision to producing an actionable roadmap. Currently, a governance subgroup of the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup is discussing plans, and they will report in mid-October about what they have come to a consensus on.

ONC is targeting January for a draft of the roadmap, which will then be published and open for comments and feedback.