ONC unveils Interoperability Roadmap for public comment

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released for public comment its shared nationwide roadmap for interoperability.

The roadmap's goal is to provide steps to be taken in both the private and public sectors to create an interoperable health IT ecosystem over the next 10 years, according to ONC.

One of the main focuses on the roadmap, which spans more than 140 pages, is to enable "a majority of individuals and providers across the care continuum to send, receive, find and use a common set of electronic clinical information at the nationwide level by the end of 2017." 

"We look forward to doing this in partnership with the private sector ... and we believe that by going forward together and holding each other accountable, that we're really going to get to a place where we have the information necessary to see that we have better care, that we can have smarter spending, and healthier people in the country," National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo said during a call on the roadmap.

The roadmap is also linked with President Barack Obama's recently introduced Precision Medicine Initiative, which aims to increase the use of personalized information in healthcare, ONC announced. On Friday, Obama announced that he will request a budget of $215 million toward the initiative, FierceHealthcare reported. 

"HHS is working to achieve a better healthcare system with healthier patients, but to do that, we need to ensure that information is available both to consumers and their doctors," HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in the announcement. "Great progress has been made to digitize the care experience, and now it's time to free up this data so patients and providers can securely access their health information when and where they need it."

To hold organizations accountable, Jodi Daniel, ONC's director of the Office of Policy Planning, said the agency currently is exploring all governance options. "We are considering regulatory options; we're considering how we can leverage certification to ensure accountability with the rules of the road; we're looking at how best we can ... hold people accountable for meeting the principles," she said during the call.

DeSalvo also noted that included a recent conversation about payment models, particularly HHS' recent announcement that it will reform how it pays providers for treating Medicare patients in the coming years. "We have heard from private payers and we are certainly interested in talking through how our payment models can support and advance HIT and interoperability," the National Coordinator said. "These are related and completely tied efforts to have that better payment model and require better data to be unlocked so it can be put to use to assess value, and at the same time the payment models need to reinforce that there must be data standards that we all agree to."