EMR interoperability along with Nationwide Health Information Networking will be a monumental achievement, considering the sheer magnitude of this initiative. It may take years before we are able to witness stable and commercially viable solutions. However, things seem to be moving in the right direction. The ONC has taken up a more active role in an effort to aid the development within the Health IT sector through the HIE initiative.
eHI believes that HIE initiatives must utilize the current geographical infrastructure and expand rapidly. It highlights the importance of meaningful use (MU), identifying it as a critical growth component for HIEs. It also forewarned that a delay in creating a support structure for physicians attesting for MU is likely to impair growth. Finally, it stressed on the need for secure information exchange, citing patient privacy as an integral part in securing patient trust and engaging them in the care delivery process.
The ONC also announced its plan to close three instrumental gaps in the system within the year. It plans on providing a framework along with a set of standards that will govern provider directories and their electronic addresses. It will establish guidelines for digital certificates and security of personal health information while working to establish a general set of rules to govern HIEs. “We really need rules of the road to enable that trust to emerge more broadly and more readily than in point-to-point negotiation. We think it could spur a health information exchange market and lay a foundation for future stages of meaningful use”, says Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.