The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will create a new database to assess the effectiveness of ONC grants given to establish state health information exchanges, regional extension centers to help physicians adopt electronic health records, and community colleges to establish health I.T. training programs.

The database, a “system of records” in federal parlance and called the ONC Health IT Dashboard, will collect information on these entities, as well as individual physicians and hospitals, according to a notice being published Dec. 22 in the Federal Register.

“Information about an individual provider (e.g., an individual physician as opposed to a hospital, corporation or other organization) is protected by the Privacy Act,” the notice states. “Privacy Act-protected information about each individual provider will consist of the provider’s health I.T. implementation information, demographic information, and contact information, retrieved by his or her National Provider Identifier. The system will not contain information about patients.”

ONC will use the database to aggregate data to create national and state-level estimates of health I.T. adoption, identify participants in other HHS health I.T. programs that could be assisted by ONC grantees, and verify the integrity of grant payments made to the grantees. Data will come from information generated from ONC grant programs or from ONC partners administering other federal I.T.-related grant programs, and from vendors that monitor health I.T. adoption activity and trends.

“Individually identifying information in the Dashboard system will pertain to individual office-based health care providers who are enrolled with the ONC Health I.T. Regional Extension Centers and/or participate in other federal I.T.-related grant programs, such as the CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs,” according to the notice.

Data from vendors that monitor health I.T. activity will include provider-level information such as contact and demographic information, characteristics of the EHR systems, and functionalities in use at the provider’s site. Data from RECs and the meaningful use incentive programs will include the National Provider Identifier as well as contact and demographic information.

Data that ONC will share with grantees and partners will include identifying information of particular participants in ONC and federal I.T. grant programs. Datasets made publicly available on the ONC Web site will contain only aggregated data.

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