Officials of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will hold Web-based Town Hall meetings on January 17 and February 24 to hear from stakeholders on how best to govern health information exchange initiatives.

ONC in May 2012 issued a request for information as it sought to establish a governance mechanism for the emerging nationwide health information network. But stakeholders reacted with concern, warning the agency that the vary act of beginning a regulatory process could slow development of HIEs. For instance, the eHealth Initiative Coalition worried that ONC was getting ready to overregulate an activity—information exchange--that was still evolving.

Consequently, ONC in September backed away, saying it would not pursue formal rulemaking at that time. In December, the agency announced the availability of grants, with a Feb. 14 application deadline, to encourage continued development and dissemination of HIE best practices.

Now, ONC through the Web-based Town Halls will seek additional industry input on advancing HIE governance goals. Participation is free but registration is required. More information is available here.

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