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Interoperability Commentary: Want to Do Something About It?

Analysis  |  By Mandy Roth  
   March 07, 2019

Sequoia Project and ONC offer resources to help organizations understand and comment on HHS' Proposed Interoperability Ruling by the May 3 deadline.

With a May 3 deadline approaching, the clock is ticking on the comment period related to the Proposed Ruling on Interoperability of Electronic Health Information (EHI) issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Since HHS announced this news on February 11 at the HIMMS19 conference, organizations have been scrambling to review details of the 724-page opus. There are resources available to help, including The Sequoia Project, a Vienna, Virginia-based non-profit dedicated to solving health IT interoperability for the public good.  

The Sequoia Project will host an Information Blocking Forum kickoff on March 19th at 3:00 p.m. (ET), providing an overview of the latest proposed information blocking policies and regulations from ONC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The forum also will offer participants the opportunity to provide input into The Sequoia Project’s Interoperability Matters information blocking workgroup. This is likely to be the first of several open sessions as the workgroup develops its commentary on the proposal.

“We’ve seen a seismic shift towards greater interoperability in the past three years," said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project, in a news release. "True, meaningful interoperability is expanding, and hospitals and health systems across the country are beginning to share health records at an unprecedented level. But we can’t declare victory yet considering there are still barriers, including the practices that are perceived to impede information sharing. We’ve reached a tipping point where discussions of interoperability – and the remaining interoperability challenges – are now mainstream and everyone wants a seat at the table. We’re happy to make room for more voices.”

Launched in October 2018, Interoperability Matters is a public-private cooperative, with member and public events focused on addressing the key remaining issues that hinder nationwide health IT interoperability.

ONC Offers Numerous Resources

The ONC also has a number of helpful resources available on this webpage. Visitors can:

  • Download the full report with the proposed ruling
  • Access a document to file commentary
  • Review numerous fact sheets related to the proposal

Fact sheets include:

  • A description of permitted fees related to APIs
  • Information blocking exceptions
  • A description of requirements by IT developers to provide the capability to electronically export all EHI data they produce and electronically manage in an exportable format
  • And much more

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

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