Report Calls for More Modern Health IT Approach from ONC

A work group of more than 40 health IT experts representing clinicians, patients, hospitals, and technology companies brought together by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Health IT Now released a report that calls for revamping industry policy—including an overhaul of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC’s) health IT certification program to focus on consumer protections, according to Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review.

The report, titled “The Future Role of Government in Health Information Technology and Digital Health,” recommends that the federal government either reduce or completely eliminate certain technology requirements currently under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) quality improvement, payment, and delivery system reform programs. The report’s authors argue that the current policies in place do not reflect recent advancements in the industry.

“Today’s highly prescriptive, inflexible, EHR-centric regulatory approach stifles, rather than stimulates, innovation,” the report states. “Public policy needs to evolve and adapt to clinical scientific breakthroughs, as well as to advancements in digital and analytical technologies and capabilities.”

The report urges ONC and CMS to revisit their health IT regulatory requirements, stating that “ONC should limit its role in usability to both convening and supporting the development and dissemination of standards and best practices, including those that enhance health IT usability and reduce provider burden.” The report argues that the government does not play such a directive role for other private sector products or technology.

Continued implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act also receives support from the report’s authors, who encouraged the government to fund more research to further advance the health IT industry.


Sarah Sheber is assistant editor/web editor at the Journal of AHIMA.

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