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June eNews -- President's Note

June 27, 2014

Remarks on ONC’s 10-Year Vision for an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure

Earlier this month, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure. WEDI applauds ONC for the publication of this report, which is directionally consistent with the 2013 WEDI Report, which we issued last December with the support of former Secretary Sebelius.

I would like to take this opportunity to examine a few areas in ONC’s recent report:

  • Patient Engagement & Information Needs: The 2013 WEDI Report noted the role of the patient and the need for increased engagement. The report outlined a recommendation around the need to identify and promote an effective and actionable means for capturing patient information. WEDI is aware that patient engagement is an ONC priority and was surprised that understanding the patient’s information needs was not featured as a key building block in the ONC report.
  • Standardizing Patient Identification: In ONC’s report building block #1 around core technical standards and functions, there is discussion on methods to accurately match individuals. WEDI encourages ONC to be more assertive on this front and consistent with the 2013 WEDI Report, which called for standardizing the patient identification process across the healthcare system.
  • Health IT Education & Literacy: ONC rightfully notes in its report the challenge of lack of knowledge among members of the public on the use and access to health IT. The 2013 WEDI Report called for expanding health IT education and literacy programs for consumers. We encourage ONC to join with the Louis W. Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation whose mission is to drive a national effort to improve healthcare IT literacy for consumers and to help consumers take advantage of new technologies focused on improving care.
  • New Payment Models: ONC discusses its role in helping define the place of health IT within new payment models. However, it does not mention the need for closer integration between clinical and administrative data. The 2013 WEDI Report recommends industry specific methods and standards for harmonizing clinical and administrative information reporting that reduce data collection burden, support clinical quality improvement, contribute to public and population health and accommodate new payment models. Such integration is critical to effectively reach fee-for-value arrangements.

WEDI looks forward to participating with ONC on further defining the vision and details for implementing an interoperable health IT infrastructure. We appreciate and welcome the invitation for industry collaboration and dialogue as we work together to move forward a vision for a national interoperable health IT infrastructure.