ONC Highlights A Year in Review – Sixth Day of Christmas

ONC - Top Six Highlights for 20122013 Highlights of the ONC

On the 6th Day of our 12 Days of Christmas Posts, we turn our attention to the ONC. And speaking of laying, how about the ONC and their continued work on laying the foundation for EHR adoption? Here are six 2013 highlights of the ONC.

New designs to make health records easier for patients to use
January 15, 2013 – Winning designs of printed health records to help patients better understand and use their electronic health records (EHRs) were announced by Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology. The designs, created through a HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) challenge contest, all met the goal of making EHRs valuable to patients and their family members.

New Health Information Technology advisory committee members to advise National Coordinator
March 1, 2013 – HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius named new and continuing members to both the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy and HIT Standards Committees. The committees provide a direct means for health information technology stakeholders and the public to provide input to HHS.

New Certified Health IT Mark announced
July 10, 2013 – A new mark for certified electronic health records (EHR) technology was unveiled by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The mark will appear on EHR products that have been certified by an ONC-Authorized Certification Body (ONC-ACB) and will indicate that the product meets the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria.

HealthIT.gov launches Meaningful Consent site
September 17, 2013 – An online resource to help health care providers effectively engage patients in choosing how they want their electronic patient health information shared was launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Known as Meaningful Consent, the site addresses the laws, policies and issues related to the electronic exchange of health information, also known as health information exchange, or HIE. The site includes strategies and tools that can be used to engage and educate patients. This information is designed for providers, certain health information organizations and other implementers of health information technology.

Mostashari Leaves ONC
October 4, 2013 – ONC named Jacob Reider as the agency’s acting national coordinator as of October 4. Dr. Reider was the director of ONC’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer. He is a family physician with 20 years of experience in health IT, and was the former CMIO at Allscripts. David Muntz, Principle Deputy National Coordinator, announced he would be leaving the ONC. Prior to joining ONC, Muntz was the senior vice president and CIO for the Baylor Health Care System.

CMS and ONC Propose New Timeline for EHR Incentive Program
December 6. 2013 – In a joint statement from CMS and ONC the agencies laid out a proposal for changes to the EHR Incentive programs. They proposed “a new timeline for the implementation of meaningful use for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) proposed a more regular approach to update ONC’s certification regulations.” The timeline changes would extend stage 2 through 2016. The ONC proposals call for updating certification criteria more frequently in their HIT Certification Program. And remembering this will all happen through regulatory rules staring with NPRMs sometime in late fall of 2014.