If Twitter was any indication, the 2015 ONC Annual Meeting was one buzz-worthy event. Major players from every branch of Health IT attended the event February 2-3. The result was a renewed commitment to reaching the patient and fostering communication between all those in the care circle.
Interoperability was at the core of nearly every session as health professionals and vendors strive to collaborate and create affordable solutions. “These invigorating conversations show that the ONC is really doing an excellent job collaborating with industry stakeholders and other Federal Agencies to better understand and guide the vision of health IT while focusing on what we can leverage now to promote getting data where it is most needed – in the hands of the patient and their care team.” said Get Real’s Healthcare Strategist, Christina Caraballo.
She continues, “Attending this conference was an affirmation that the InstantPHR platform stands alone in the market. Its ability to integrate with virtually any EHR, HIE or existing system as well as support a robust ecosystem of consumer mediated data exchange proves that InstantPHR solves many of the current issues in health IT without a decrease in usability.”
Here are a few of the highlights from the event:
ONC UNVEILS INTEROPERABILITY ROADMAP
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released its shared nationwide roadmap for interoperability. The roadmap’s goal is to provide steps to be taken in both the private and public sectors to create an interoperable health IT ecosystem over the next 10 years, according to the ONC.
“HHS is working to achieve a better healthcare system with healthier patients, but to do that, we need to ensure that information is available both to consumers and their doctors,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in the announcement. “Great progress has been made to digitize the care experience, and now it’s time to free up this data so patients and providers can securely access their health information when and where they need it.”
With an eye to assuring accountability, the ONC will develop governance guidelines for HIT products and systems. Certification, regulation and culpability will be a top priority as the plan is enacted.
Funding continues to be the largest obstacle for organizations looking to implement HIT products and solutions. Two recent government initiatives aim to ease this burden:
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $28 million in grants to advance the adoption and use of interoperable health IT tools and services to support health information exchange.
The plan calls for the agency to bestow as many as 12 new awards in the form of cooperative agreements to states, territories or state designated entities to continue work under the same intent as the original State Health Information Exchange Program.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell explains “This two-year grant program will ask awardees to demonstrate innovative, community-based solutions to advance standardized, secure and interoperable movement of health information across organizations, vendors and geographic boundaries.”
Additionally, President Obama’s FY2016 Budget includes $92 million in funding for the ONC. That number is a jump from the approximately $60 million previously allocated. The increased resources would support a range of efforts including Stage 3 Meaningful Use, the interoperability roadmap (see above) and leveraging health IT to improve prescription drug monitoring programs.