ONC Announcement Reinforces Health IT Now’s Call to Action on Interoperability
Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced an overhaul in the structure and organization of the office. She emphasized the re-structuring seeks to offer a “flatter and more accountable reporting structure” that will be necessary to tacking the many priorities ONC is taking on in 2014, especially interoperability.
“The Health IT Now Coalition is encouraged that interoperability will be ONC’s top priority and focus under the realignment,” said Joel White, Executive Director of HITN. “We hope the realignment will focus and transform Meaningful Use into a truly meaningful program for patients and health care providers. The recent provider backlash against perceived or real burdens associated with EHR requirements provides a substantial opportunity for ONC to put its resources behind making EHRs interoperable. Doing so will empower providers to optimally coordinate care for patients. This means fewer mistakes, lower costs and better outcomes.”
“ONC’s announcement is great news and desperately needed in the context of the recent adjustment in time frame for Meaningful Use,” White continued. “Interoperability should be closely followed by an intense focus on promoting quality and safety on the priorities list. We think there are significant opportunities to both lighten tracking and reporting burdens on providers while focusing quality on measures that consumers actually care about, including mortality, overuse and misuse of care.”
We look forward to working with Dr. DeSalvo and ONC over the coming months to help achieve improvements in health outcomes, patient safety, and lower costs. We encourage Congress to engage fully in this regulatory process.