ONC Issues Plans to Accelerate HIE Expansion

Health information exchange (HIE) between hospitals and other providers increased 41 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to new data touted by the federal government.

What’s more, six in 10 hospitals exchanged electronic health information with providers outside of their organization in 2012, a study by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) found. The report, which was published Aug. 5 in Health Affairs, also found that the proportion of hospitals that implemented a basic electronic health record (EHR) and participated in health information organizations grew more than fivefold between 2008 and 2012.

The study’s authors conclude that while there’s still much to be done to achieve true interoperability, “HIE is happening and growing.” Click here to read the abstract.

On Aug. 7, ONC released its “Strategy and Principles to Accelerate HIE,” which outlines ways to advance HIE adoption beyond Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentives and ONC certification programs. Strategies include:

  • New HHS regulations and guidance on existing programs will enable a patient’s health information to follow them wherever they access care with appropriate privacy and security safeguards.
  • HHS programs will advance HIE across providers including long-term and post-acute care, behavioral health, and laboratory providers.
  • HHS will advance multi-stakeholder development of standards, including an interoperability and certification road map that will serve as a transparent planning tool to guide standards development, adoption, and health IT certification.
  • HHS will build upon and move beyond the foundation of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and the ONC HIT Certification Program.
  • HHS will work to align health IT standards for quality measurement and improvement across Medicare and Medicaid.
  • HHS will implement policies that encourage electronic HIE incrementally and evolve from incentive and reward structures to electronic HIE as a standard business practice for providers.


Click here for the full report.


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