Government Health IT, June 23, 2011

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT plans to publish "very soon" a proposed rule promoting the wider use of existing metadata standards so it can get feedback on the experience from various organizations, said Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national health IT coordinator. The use of metadata, or elements that describe data, is considered key to fueling more complex health information exchange. The Health IT Standards Committee endorsed activities by ONC to explore the use of simplified and existing types of metadata standards, including for patient identity, provenance and privacy flags. It also recommended at its June 22 meeting that ONC seek feedback and evidence from real-world implementations. Provenance is the tracing of the source of data so a recipient can know if it is trusted. ONC wants to learn about organizations' experience with metadata from the public comments it would receive from the proposed rule before it publishes the larger proposed regulation for standards and certification criteria for stage 2 of meaningful use likely at the end of the year, he said at the committee meeting.

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