ONC outlines plans for data standards, big data analytics in budget request

Four legislative proposals aimed at improving the exchange of electronic health information have been included in the 2017 budget request by the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

ONC National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, and chief operating officer Lisa Lewis detailed the plans in a blog post, saying “ONC needs nimble, effective tools to keep pace in this ever changing” health IT field.

The four proposals include:

  • Prohibiting information blocking, along with providing protections for whistleblowers and authorizing the HHS Inspector General to investigate and penalize entities who purposely prevent all necessary providers from secure access to patient information
  • Requiring health IT developers to publicly disclose costs, business practices, and the limitations of their technology
  • Allowing ONC to establish and enforce “rules of the road” for exchanging electronic health information beyond technical requirements by amending the Public Health Service Act  
  • Establish a health IT safety collaborative where companies could confidentially share safety concerns to inform best practices and report on safety solutions

DeSalvo and Lewis emphasized that the overall goal of all the proposals is to ensure ONC finds ways to encourage interoperability while staying up to date on new health IT technology.

“As with all technology, health IT will continue evolving rapidly and we must be able to keep pace with the needs of the ever-changing landscape. These legislative proposals are a critical component of our efforts to do so, and to enable truly interoperable health information exchange that benefits all individuals and the health system at large,” DeSalvo and Lewis concluded.