What’s Happening at the ONC – 02-27-21

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is at the forefront of the administration’s health IT efforts and is a resource to the entire health system to support the adoption of health information technology and the promotion of nationwide health information exchange to improve health care. ONC is organizationally located within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Here is what they are doing and reporting. Follow them @ONC_HealthIT. Sign up for their email updates.


LEAP in Health IT
When: Tuesday, March 9, 2021  1:00 pm ET
Register for this event.

ONC published a special emphasis notice (SEN) under the Leading Edge Acceleration Projects (LEAP) in Health IT notice of funding opportunity. The goal of the SEN is to to advance health IT standards and tools to improve social determinants of health data exchange and research, and to develop tools for making electronic health record (EHR) data research and artificial intelligence (AI)-ready. ONC seeks applications with specific aims to address one of those areas of interest. Register for their upcoming information session webinar to learn more about the LEAP in Health IT SEN.

Health IT Advisory Committee
Wed, 03/10/2021, 9:30 AM

ONC Annual Meeting 2021
When: March 29-30, 2021
Hashtag: #ONC2021
Register for this event.

REGISTER TODAY for the 2021 ONC Annual Meeting! This year’s event will be held virtually on March 29-30. Join over 1,200 health IT partners for a combination of plenaries and breakout sessions covering a variety of health IT, healthcare, public health, and tech topics. They look forward to seeing you all online at the all-virtual 2021 ONC Annual Meeting!

News and Announcements

One Week Left to Participate in the Challenge Competition on Synthetic Health Data
The Synthetic Health Data Challenge invites innovators to validate the realism of SyntheaTM generated synthetic health records, develop or improve disease-progression and treatment modules, and spur novel uses of synthetic health data. Phase I proposals in the category of Enhancements to Synthea or Novel Uses of Synthea Generated Synthetic Data are due March 2, 2021. Participating individuals or teams may submit more than one proposal. Select proposals will move on to Phase II—Prototype or Solutions Development, which offers a total award package of $100,000. Watch the recorded webinar held on 2/2 to learn more. Learn More About the Challenge.

ONC Health IT Certification Program New Resource Available
The ONC Health IT Certification Program has released a new fact sheet for Real World Testing requirements of the ONC Cures Act Final Rule. The fact sheet describes Real World Testing requirements for Health IT Developers participating in the ONC Health IT Certification Program. This resource will assist the Health IT Developer community in understanding how the requirements outlined in the ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule apply to them and provide a practical overview of the Real World Testing Condition and Maintenance of Certification requirements. View the Fact Sheet.

New CARES Act Funding Released by ONC
ONC announced a series of investments to help increase data sharing between health information exchanges (HIEs) and immunization information systems. ONC is awarding nearly $20 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to support the nation’s vaccination efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these collaborations, public health agencies can get additional help tracking and identifying patients who have yet to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and better identify those who may be high-risk who have not yet received a vaccination. Learn more about the CARES Act funding in the press release.

Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) 2021 Reference Edition Now Available
Each year ONC releases the Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) Reference Edition, a PDF “snapshot in time” of the web-based ISA. The 2021 Reference Edition is now available with some of the updates based on your public comments this past fall. Notable additions include a sub-section and Specialty Care and Settings page to support Interoperability for the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a new sub-section for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response. View the ISA 2021 Reference Edition.

ONC Releases Draft USCDI Version 2 and SVAP Approved Standards for 2020

ONC recently released the Draft United States Core Data for Interoperability Version (Draft USCDI v2). The Draft USCDI v2 is the result of wide-ranging public input into the elements that should be included to enhance the interoperability of health data for patients, providers, and other users. ONC encourages the public to review this draft standard, including the list of data elements that didn’t make it into the standard, and provide comments through the USCDI home page by April 15, 2021. Learn more about the USCDI and comment.

ONC also released the Standards Version Advancement Process (SVAP) Approved Standards for 2020. Under the SVAP, health IT developers can incorporate newer versions of health IT standards and implementation specifications used in certified health IT and update systems for their customers without undergoing certification testing again. Learn more about the SVAP.

ONC Releases First Standards Bulletin
ONC recently released the ONC Standards Bulletin, a new communication tool that will periodically update the health care industry about ONC health IT standards and policy initiatives. Based on a HITAC recommendation, the Bulletin is part of our ongoing efforts to communicate, coordinate, and promote the adoption and use of health IT standards to facilitate the access, exchange, and use of electronic health information. Read the Bulletin.

ONC Partners with ACI on Special Section on Workflow Automation
ONC is partnering with Applied Clinical Informatics (ACI) on a special section of the AMIA and IMIA eJournal focusing on workflow automation. The special section, guest edited by National Coordinator Dr. Don Rucker and ONC Chief Scientist Teresa Zayas-Caban, will feature a diverse range of submissions and demonstrations from academic and healthcare organizations and industry partners. Interested authors can submit articles between now and June of 2021 with manuscripts published online as they are ready. Submission information is available from ACI. For more information about health IT workflow automation policy development, please visit ONC’s project page. Learn more.

ONC announces new initiative, Project US@
To start in 2021, ONC has agreed to develop a unified specification for address in health care. This project will be a collaboration with Health Level 7 (HL7), the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), and X12 (along with the other standards development organizations and members of the Health Standards Collaborative.) The goal of the project is to issue a unified, cross-SDO, health care industry-wide specification for representing address within the year.

Now Available: Experiences from Sync for Science Pilot Project Participants
ONC published a brief describing experiences of participants from the Sync for Science (S4S) pilot project. The pilot project supported health IT developers and provider organizations in developing and implementing capabilities to enable patient-directed data sharing through APIs. The S4S pilot project demonstrated how individuals can share health data with researchers through APIs and how volunteers can submit health data to the NIH All of Us Research Program. Read the brief.

2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan

This Plan is outcomes-driven, with goals focused on meeting the needs of individuals, populations, caregivers, healthcare providers, payers, public health professionals, researchers, developers, and innovators. Read the Plan.

Reminder: 2014 Edition Retired
ONC’s 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule retires the 2014 Edition from ONC’s Health IT Certification Program as of the rule effective date, June 30, 2020. This includes all 2014 Edition certification criteria and related standards, terms, and requirements, which will be removed from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Visit HealthIT.gov for additional guidance.

Please note: any developers who were only certified to the 2014 Edition and had not yet updated to the 2015 Edition prior to June 30, 2020, are no longer considered active under ONC’s Health IT Certification Program.


Health Records

Health IT Playbook

New Pediatric Resource Available
ONC recently released the Pediatric Health Information Technology: Pediatric Healthcare Provider Informational Resource (Healthcare Provider IR) to support the implementation of health IT products used by clinicians that provide healthcare for children. The Developer and Healthcare Provider IRs identify ONC’s ten recommendations for health IT for pediatric care, relevant certification criteria within the ONC Health IT Certification Program, and other information to support the implementation of health IT products to support the safe and effective healthcare of children. Learn more.

Updates to the SRA Tool
ONC, in partnership with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released an update to the HHS Security Risk Assessment (SRA) Tool. This tool provides support for small- and medium-sized health care organizations in their efforts to assess security risks. This enhanced version of the SRA Tool includes a variety of new features like improved navigation throughout the assessment sections, export options for reports, and enhanced user interface scaling. Download SRA Tool.

New Resources to Address the Privacy and Security of Health Data Used in Research
ONC has released the final report of the Privacy and Security Framework for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) project. The report highlights a framework and resources that support the responsible use of health data for PCOR. Learn more about how these resources can support stakeholders as they navigate the complexities of sharing health data for research and better protect patient data in the final report. Read the Final Report.

ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule Webinars & Resources
As of June 30, 2020, ONC’s 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule is effective. Please visit 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program, for detailed information about the rule. ONC recently completed a series of question-and-answer webinars on ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule. All webinars were recorded. Visit the Cures Rule website to view all the webinar recordings, slide presentations, and resources about the Final Rule.

Tools and Resources for the Health IT Community
To support HHS’s ongoing response efforts to the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), ONC is partnering with the CDC to direct the health IT community and healthcare providers to various resources for reporting and tracking of coronavirus disease or COVID-19. Visit HealthIT.gov for more.


From the Health IT Buzz Blog – Learn more about HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Check out the latest blog posts:

Spotlighting Interoperability Proving Ground Programs

The Interoperability Proving Ground (IPG) is an open, community platform where you can share, learn, and be inspired by interoperability projects taking place across the nation. ONC is asking those working on COVID-19 interoperability projects to share your project on the IPG and tag it with #COVID-19. We’re reviewing every entry to identify opportunities for connection and collaboration among the community on these critical efforts.

The Interoperability Proving Ground (IPG) Spotlight project of the week is: A HIPAA Compliant, Interdisciplinary Collaboration Tool for Front-Line Clinicians: TrekIT – Created by clinicians for clinicians at Penn Medicine, TrekIT is a HIPAA compliant clinical workflow tool that was built to enable seamless team-based collaboration across every provider in every setting and requires no IT resources to deploy. To support the medical community during this time of extreme strain, we are offering TrekIT free of charge to our colleagues on the front-lines.

Learn how your interoperability project can be featured as an IPG Spotlight by visiting the Interoperability Proving Ground (IPG). Once a project is submitted or updated, projects will automatically be added to the feature queue to be randomly selected as a featured project.

ONC Interoperability Pledge

Companies that provide 90 percent of electronic health records used by hospitals nationwide as well as the top five largest health care systems in the country have agreed to implement three core commitments: Consumer Access, No Blocking/Ensuring Transparency, and Standards. The ONC (@ONC_HealthIT) wants vendors to sign a pledge. Is your vendor pledging? Find out who is on the list.