The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has published an interim final rule to remove two electronic health records implementation specifications it erroneously adopted.

The action was expected as ONC acknowledged the error in September. In the Code of Federal Regulations, the error is at 24 CFR 170.205(d)(2). The Department of Health and Human Services this year adopted specific specifications to clarify how to use an EHR to electronically record, modify, retrieve and submit syndrome-based public health surveillance information. However, the specifications were not designed for EHR users, but to guide public health agencies on how to report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The removed implementation specifications for the Health Level Seven 2.5.1 messaging standard are the Public Health Information Network HL7 Version 2.5 Message Structure Specification for National Condition Reporting Final Version 1.0, and the Errata and Clarifications National Notification Message Structural Specification. ONC also removed related text and references to provide additional clarity.

The interim final rule, published Oct. 13 in the Federal Register, has a 30-day comment period but is effective immediately.

--Joseph Goedert


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