Guiding Principles of ONC Plan for Full Interoperability

The Office of the National Coordinator for HIT recently released its vision for getting a nationwide interoperable health IT infrastructure during the next decade. Here are the nine guiding principles that ONC hopes will bring success.

Build upon the existing health IT infrastructure Build upon the existing health IT infrastructure

“Significant investments have been made in health IT across the care delivery system and in other relevant sectors that need to exchange information with individuals and care providers. To the extent possible, we will encourage stakeholders to build from existing health IT infrastructure, increasing interoperability and functionality as needed.”

One size does not fit all One size does not fit all

“Interoperability requires technical and policy conformance among networks, technical systems and their components. It also requires behavior and culture change on the part of users. We will strive for baseline interoperability across health IT infrastructure, while allowing innovators and technologists to vary the user experience (the feel and function of tools) in order to meet the user’s needs based on the scenario at hand, technology available, workflow design, personal preferences and other factors.”

Empower individuals Empower individuals

“Members of the public are rapidly adopting technology to manage numerous aspects of their lives, including health and wellness. However, many of these tools do not yet integrate information from the health care delivery system. Health information from the care delivery system should be easily accessible to individuals and empower them to become more active partners in their health just as other kinds of data are empowering them in other aspects of their lives.”

Leverage the market Leverage the market

“Demand for interoperability from health IT users is a powerful driver to advance our vision. As payment and care delivery reform increase demand for interoperability, we will work with and support these efforts.”

Simplify Simplify

“Where possible, simpler solutions should be implemented first, with allowance for more complex methods in the future.”

Maintain modularity Maintain modularity

“Complex systems are more resilient to change when they are divided into independent components that can be connected together. Because medicine and technology will change over time, we must preserve systems’ ability to evolve and take advantage of the best of technology and health care delivery. Modularity creates flexibility that allows innovation and adoption of new, more efficient approaches over time without overhauling entire systems.”

Consider the current environment and support multiple levels of advancement Consider the current environment and support multiple levels of advancement

“Not every clinical practice will incorporate health information technology into their work in the next 3-10 years, and not every practice will adopt health IT at the same level of sophistication. We must therefore account for a range of capabilities among information sources and information users, including EHR and non-EHR users, as we advance interoperability. Individuals and caregivers have an ongoing need to find, send, receive and use their own health information both within and outside the care delivery system and interoperable infrastructure should enable this.”

Focus on value Focus on value

“We will strive to make sure our interoperability efforts yield the greatest value to individuals and care providers; improved health, health care and lower costs should be measurable over time and at a minimum, offset the resource investment.”

Protect privacy and security in all aspects of interoperability Protect privacy and security in all aspects of interoperability

“It is essential to maintain public trust that health information is safe and secure. To better establish and maintain that trust, we will strive to ensure that appropriate, strong and effective safeguards for health information are in place as interoperability increases across the industry. We will also support greater transparency for individuals regarding the business practices of entities that use their data, particularly those that are not covered by the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.”

The report is available here.

The Office of the National Coordinator for HIT recently released its vision for getting a nationwide interoperable health IT infrastructure during the next decade. Here are the nine guiding principles that ONC hopes will bring success.

 

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