ONC Blog Post Highlights Key Priorities for Health IT Now

WASHINGTON, DC (June 20, 2018): Health IT Now - a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes - responded today to a blog post in Health Affairs from Don Rucker, MD, chief of the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology (ONC).

In his column, Rucker outlined a number of priorities for his agency "over the next few years," including action on Health IT Now-led solutions to reduce provider burden, improve interoperability, advance open application programming interfaces (APIs), and stamp out information blocking. 

Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White released the following statement applauding ONC's embrace of Health IT Now's priorities in its agenda:

"The agenda outlined in ONC's blog post is a direct reflection of the dedicated advocacy work of Health IT Now and its members. We are proud to see ONC embrace solutions we have long championed to promote interoperability across the healthcare continuum, reduce the federal regulatory burden, and leverage the power of open APIs to put consumers in charge of their healthcare data," said Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White. "Health IT Now members look forward to our continued work with ONC to ensure the steps outlined in this column are followed with meaningful, prompt action - particularly when it comes to eliminating the harmful practice of information blocking, which poses a significant threat to patient safety. While ONC's comments provide a timeline of 'the next few years,' we will press the agency for speedier action to address bad actors that stand in the way of the seamless and secure flow of relevant clinical information." 

Health IT Now has long urged ONC to take these actions through advocacy efforts such as: 

  • Hosting ONC Deputy Coordinator Jon White, MD, at its June 14th monthly meeting where Health IT Now members made a direct appeal on these fronts. 
  • Releasing a February 27th, 2018 report with the Bipartisan Policy Center entitled, "The Future Role of Government in Health IT and Digital Health." The report offered ten recommendations for enhancing interoperability progress while calling for a "reduction of prescriptive technology and burdensome reporting requirements," and urging enforcement of information blocking provisions in 21st Century Cures. ONC Coordinator Rucker joined Health IT Now and the Bipartisan Policy Center a briefing highlighting the findings of the report. 
  • Leading more than a dozen health IT organizations in an August 29, 2017 sign-on letter offering specific recommendations for eliminating the threat of information blocking, including calling for a proposed rule clarifying information blocking provisions in Cures. 
  • Sending a July 31, 2017 letter commenting on ONC's Proposed Interoperability Standards Measurement Framework, noting that "Patients need not only to be able to access their information, but to direct it how they wish."

About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that supports incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.