HIMSS comments to ACF on Data Exchange Standards

On January 22, HIMSS submitted a letter to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Request for Comments (RFC) on Data Exchange Standards for Improved Interoperability of Multiple Human Service Programs. HIMSS wants health information to be standardized and exchangeable as this will promote usability and interoperability by both the patients and the provider. HIMSS keeps Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in the utmost regard when treating patients in a more holistic way. Allowing for SDOH data to become standardized will allow for improved care delivery.

HIMSS offered guidance on data sharing and calls on ACF to work across HHS, state government agencies, and the entire community to encourage convening opportunities for education around the sharing of human services information. HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), created the Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) to promote data sharing through seamless interoperability through a single, public list of the standards and implementation specifications. HIMSS also mentions ONC’s Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) and how it could serve as that single gateway for sharing human services information between and among state agencies. HIMSS supports opportunity for collaboration with the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) as a partner in this effort.

One of the biggest barriers to exchanging data is a need for more human resources at the state agencies responsible for implementing interoperability and data exchange. HIMSS encourages ACF to ensure that states allocate the resources to train and sufficiently educate their workforce enabling greater facilitation of exchange between and among state human services agencies.

HIMSS wants to continue to be a collaborator with ACF and state governments to help develop and implement data exchange standards to improve the quality and consistency of human services data sharing implementation nationwide.