ONC aims to ease submission of HIT complaints, feedback

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is making it easier for the public to report on problems with information technology.

The agency has updated its Health IT Complaints Form to accept a variety of kinds of public feedback through one central tool, and it’s expanded the number of categories available through which the public can provide feedback.

ONC says it’s hoping to make it easier for the public to contact it and inform it of concerns, questions and input on health IT topics and ONC programs.

The agency’s form, found here, does not require respondents to submit personally identifiable information, and they can click on a button on the form to submit information anonymously.

The form enables users to leave feedback on problems with certified health IT products, but ONC suggests first contacting the product’s developer or vendor. “If the developer/vendor is unable to resolve the issue and you think the issue relates to the product’s certified capabilities, then contact the appropriate ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies, which should be able to work with you and the developer to resolve most issues,” ONC says. ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies verify that software meets product requirements so providers using the products can achieve meaningful use requirements. Submitting this type of product issue should be done if resolution efforts fail.

ONC advises those reporting instances in which either a HIPAA-covered entity or business associate may have violated someone’s health information privacy rights or committed some other violation of the HIPAA Privacy, Security or Breach Notification Rules to file a complaint directly with The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those submitting feedback may be contacted for additional information, or inquiries may be shared with other appropriate federal and state government agencies, officials or authorities.

“While we will endeavor to keep the information you share with us confidential, federal or state laws, may require us to disclose certain information in some circumstances,” ONC notes on the form’s web site. “While legal and administrative constraints prevent us from responding to feedback, all information submitted through this form is carefully reviewed and shared with appropriate ONC officials.”

Supporting documentation for inquiries or complaints can be sent to ONC at healthITcomplaints@hhs.gov.

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