The U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced the launch of its Health Interoperability Outcomes 2030 effort, aimed at building on current interoperability efforts and working toward longer-term strategies.
“Throughout my tenure at ONC, different policy, technology, and legislative moments along with ample public feedback have shaped our actions,” wrote Deputy National Coordinator Steve Posnack in a blog post accompanying the announcement.
“Yet, there always comes a time to ask, ‘What’s next? What are we driving toward? How do we turn actions into outcomes?’ Now’s that time,” Posnack continued.
WHY IT MATTERS
As Posnack pointed out, a number of policies have shaped the ONC’s actions over the past decade – most recently the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, which shaped regulations around information blocking and interoperability that took effect this April.
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is without question that the Cures Act will continue to play a distinct role in our work. However, we also find ourselves at the start of a new decade with a remarkable opportunity to look ahead,” wrote Posnack.
The new project, called “Health Interoperability Outcomes 2030,” will entail a prioritized set of interoperability outcomes that align with the 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and ONC’s vision for the country.
Posnack noted that 2030 should be viewed as a deadline, not a save-the-date. In other words, some outcomes should be expected to be achieved before that year.
“That being said, anyone who’s worked in this space knows that health care is full of humility,” he wrote. “Often, what you think should be easy takes longer and is more complex than you expected.”
To that end, ONC is soliciting responses to what Posnack called an “interoperability Mad Lib.” He gave two framing examples:
- “Because of interoperability, ______ before/by 2030.”
- “Because of interoperability, before/by 2030 [who] will [what].”
Submissions will be accepted through July 30 of this year, Posnack explained.
“Throughout the response period we’ll be organizing and synthesizing input consistent with our plan to publish a prioritized set of interoperability outcome statements later this fall,” he wrote. “Ultimately, this effort will help coordinate and focus our collective actions toward outcomes.”
THE LARGER TREND
Thinking ahead to 2030 may seem daunting for providers who are still trying to comply with the regulations that just went into effect.
A new report from KLAS that surveyed a small sampling of health system execs found that while most of the respondents felt prepared for compliance, 12% said they do not feel ready.
That report followed a poll from this past month that found many healthcare industry stakeholders were still confused about federal information blocking rules – even after the start date.
“As ONC starts enforcement, organizations must prioritize deepening their knowledge of these mandates and implementing changes to adapt to the evolving landscape, or run the risk of incurring significant penalties,” said David Schoolcraft, partner and chair of the digital health group at law firm Ogden Murphy Wallace, in a statement about the survey.
ON THE RECORD
“When we know with certainty what we want to accomplish, what outcomes we seek to achieve, it frees us up to be a bit more creative about how we get there. That’s what this effort is all about,” wrote Posnack.
Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.
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