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A Look Ahead: ONC Envisions Nationwide Health Information Exchange in 2016

By: Nextech | December 10th, 2015

A Look Ahead: ONC Envisions Nationwide Health Information Exchange in 2016 Blog Feature

This past year has been a landmark year for healthcare IT, government regulations and the growing use of electronic health records within medical practices. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, 2016 could be just as big.

At the Bipartisan Policy Center event on interoperability and information sharing in Washington, D.C. earlier this week, National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo detailed her hopes of implementing a nationwide health information exchange for the coming year.interoperability

"We have build -- through the hard work of the private sector, states and support from the HITECH Act -- an infrastructure in this country where essentially every state has a health information highway," DeSalvo said. "Our goal is to see that we can connect those highways -- including the health information exchanges but also the private sector exchanges -- in the entire country within a year."

The success of this plan depends on three "agreements", according to DeSalvo:

  • Collaboratively develop standards for interoperability
  • End information blocking practices
  • Provide consumers access to their health information and the ability to share it

The U.S. government has invested more than $30 billion into electronic health records, but the results have yet to show in regard to interoperability the electronic sharing of health information between providers. Janet Marchibroda, the Bipartisan Policy Center's director of health innovation, claimed only about 26 percent of physicians share information electronically with other ambulatory care providers.

With the stated goal of achieving nationwide interoperability sometime between 2021 and 2014 in a roadmap released back in October, ONC believes the ability to connect these HIEs will be a strong step forward in accomplishing this goal.

"We have secure but seamless data exchange where electronic health information is unlocked and widely shared in order to get to better care, smarter spending and healthier people, "DeSalvo said of her vision for nationwide interoperability. "That information is going to be available to doctors in real time so that they will be able to address the clinical needs of their patients."