On Tuesday, the Health IT Policy Committee and Standards Committee, Federal Advisory Committees to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), convened for a virtual joint meeting. Dr. Vindell Washington, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, ONC, welcomed the committees and stated that interoperability remains at the core of ONC activity as well as empowerment of the consumer. Arien Malec, Health IT Standards Committee co-chair, provided a review of the agenda and noted that the meeting was intended to review where the committees currently stand in order to get to the next generation of interoperability driven by MACRA and value-based care.
Vaishali Patel with ONC provided a data update on Hospital Adoption of Patient Engagement Functionalities based on results from a 2015 American Hospital Association Health IT Supplemental Survey. The presentation noted an almost seven-fold increase in hospital adoption of VDT capabilities since 2013 and significant annual increases in hospital adoption of other electronic patient engagement capabilities. Additionally, the percent of hospitals with VDT capability has spread nationwide between 2013 and 2015 although compared to larger health systems, critical access hospitals and small hospitals lag behind in adoption of VDT capabilities.
Next the committees heard from Donna Cryer and Patty Sengstack, co-chairs of the Consumer Task Force, who presented task force feedback on the Blue-Button Connector and ONC Patient Engagement Playbook. Members of the Task Force feel that there is still a need for something like the Connector and provided suggestions for improvement. Members also found the Patient Engagement Playbook to be easy to navigate and appropriate for providers but had suggestions for making the playbook more useful for both providers and patients.
Jitin Asnaani and Anjum Kurshid, co-chairs of the Interoperability Task Force (IXTF), presented final IXTF recommendations to the committees. The IXTF was charged with providing recommendations on the most impactful approaches that could be implemented to improve the interoperability experience for provider and patient stakeholders. In the transmittal letter, the IXTF identified three prioritized findings:
- Work is needed around clinical information reconciliation and curation to reduce the burden of clinical data import.
- Incorporation of non-clinical data in needed so that it is useful to clinicians.
- Work is needed to better understand how to deal with patient generated health data (PGHD), as interoperability includes PGHD (broader than non-clinical data above).
The next Joint Committee meeting will be an in-person meeting on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.