ONC Launches Slew of Health IT Initiatives in Q2

ONC Initiatives for Q2 2012

The ONC maintained a furious pace of federal Health IT initiatives announced or launched in the second quarter of 2012. Here is a list highlighting some of the key developments.

ONC Health IT Dashboard Tool Summarizes Information
The ONC has launched its newest website that presents key information and data to enable collaborative monitoring of the impact of federal policies, programs, and research activities related to health IT. The Health IT Dashboard currently provides summary information about all ONC HITECH grant programs, and detailed data from the Regional Extension Center, and Community College Consortia to Educate Health IT Professionals programs. Read more here.

ONC Releases Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security of Health Information
ONC’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (OCPO) has released a new guide for providers and their staff to help understand HIPAA  privacy and security when it comes to electronic health records (EHRs) and meaningful use. “Guide to Privacy and Security of Health Information” is a comprehensive tool assisting professionals in integrating privacy and security into their practices. Read more here.

Open ONC Challenges
Under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the ONC is charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The ONC has conducted many successful challenges with ones currently open for participation. Of the 17 ONC challenges, 6 have announced winners, 5 are closed evaluating entries, and 6 are currently open for participation. Read more here on some highlights of the ONC Challenges.

ONC Report from OIG On EHR Use by Medicare Physicians
Each cabinet department and independent agency of the federal government has an Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The office is charged with identifying, auditing, and investigating fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement within its department or agency. The OIG of Health & Human Services recently released a report, Use of Electronic Health Record Systems in 2011 Among Medicare Physicians Providing Evaluation and Management Services. The study that was reported on was done from a request by the ONC to report the use of EHR systems. Read more here.

Certified Health IT Product List Updated
The ONC released the newest version of the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL)today. The ONC says it introduces new and improved features to the program that supplies Certification IDs to participants in the CMS EHR Incentive programs. Of the updates there is now a new functionality capable of supporting “Hybirid” Certification. Read more here.

ONC Reported Annual 2012 EHR Incentive Goals Met in May
100,000 adopt, implement or demonstrate Meaningful Use.  You can read up on all of the numbers reported by CMS on status of the EHR Incentive Program and ONC HITECH initiatives.

ONC Announces Blue Button Mash Up Challenge Criteria and Eligibility
The Blue Button Initiative is an effort to accelerate patient access to their health records. At June’s Health Data Initiative Forum ONC’s Mostashari announced the “Blue Button Mash Up Challenge”. The challenge is to design an application that combines an individual’s personal health information with other data empowering them to make better decisions about their care. Read more here.

New Standards & Interoperability Framework Initiative – Health eDecisions
ONC announced the launch of there new S&I Framework Initiative, Health eDecisions. According to the ONC, this initiative “will address standards for the ability to exchange clinical decision support interventions”. Health eDecisions will operate as part of the ONC Standards & Interoperability Framework. Read more here.

ONC requests public comments on NwHIN
The Public Health Service Act Section 3001(c)(8) requires the National Coordinator to “establish a governance mechanism for the nationwide health information network.” The nationwide health information network is defined as a set of standards, services, and policies that enable secure health information exchange over the Internet. The ONC announced the request stating key components of the proposed governance approach for NwHIN. Read more here.