What’s Happening at the ONC – 8-14-20

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.


ICYMI – The ONC Interoperability Forum is now the Tech Forum! Held August 10-11, 2020

Some key highlights from the first day of the all-virtual ONC Tech Forum included:

  • A fireside chat with Don Rucker, MD, national coordinator for health IT, and Denise Hines, chief Americas officer at HIMSS. Dr. Rucker: “We’re seeing some very good progress on all of the key parts of the 21st Century Cures Act.”
  • A lively panel of experts discussing the impact that standards based approaches, such as HL7®FHIR® and bulk data access APIs, will have on population health and the shift to value-based care.
  • Afternoon working sessions focused on topics such as innovation in HIE, FHIR implementation, advancing trust of third party applications and more.


ONC Announces New HIE Funding Opportunity to Support Public Health Agencies in their Communities
The ONC issued the Strengthening Technical Advancement and Readiness of Public Health Agencies via Health Information Exchange (STAR HIE) Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The STAR HIE Program aims to build innovative health information exchange services that benefit public health agencies and improve the health information exchange services available to support communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. ONC will award up to five cooperative agreements under the program. Award recipients will deploy services that can enable, enhance, or increase the use of health information exchange at the state and local levels among relevant entities. Learn more.

Tracking Use and Impacts of Health IT on U.S. Office Based Physicians
A second funding opportunity was issued by ONC. This cooperative agreement will fund a single award with a 3-year program period to measure the use and impacts of health IT among a nationally representative sample of U.S. office-based physicians. It is also intended to produce national-level data on interoperability among office-based physicians. Learn more.

ONC Now Accepting Submissions for the USCDI Version 2
ONC is now accepting submissions for the next version of the United States Core for Data Interoperability (USCDI) through the new ONC New Data Element and Class (ONDEC) submission system. The USCDI is a standardized set of health data classes and constituent data elements for nationwide, interoperable health information exchange. The next version of the USCDI will be drafted and finalized based on your data element submissions to the ONDEC system. Read the blog.

Soliciting Input on Patient Identity and Matching
Recognizing it as a continuing substantial patient safety issue, ONC is investigating strategies to improve patient identity and matching. Stakeholder input and insight into existing challenges and promising innovations will inform ONC’s report to Congress on technical and operational methods that improve patient identity and matching. They invite all stakeholders to submit comments by September 4, 2020. Read More.

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 21st Century Cures Act Rule Effective
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’s Cures Act Final Rule Webinars & Resources
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.

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 IT Playbook

New Data Brief Available
ONC released new data on the methods substance abuse treatment centers used to manage health information in 2017. More than half of centers nationwide used a combination of both electronic and paper methods to store and exchange client health information, and 3in 10 centers used only electronic methods. View the complete brief, Variation in Methods for Health Information Management among U.S. Substance Abuse Treatment Centers.

Using Real-World Data to Advance Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
ONC recently released the results from the Coordinated Registry Network for Women’s Health Technologies project, a collaborative effort to enable researchers to generate real-world evidence using data that address some women’s health issues. Coordinated registry networks (CRNs) enable research across clinical registries to study multiple interventions and play an important role in advancing patient-centered outcomes research. Read the final report to learn more about lessons learned from developing and testing the Women’s Health Technologies CRN FHIR® Implementation Guide.

New Recording Available
On June 1, ONC hosted a virtual working session to provide input and insight into existing challenges and promising innovations in patient identity and matching. The recording is now available.

New Infographic Available – What is the HITAC?
Learn about the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) through a recently released infographic showcasing the history and significant highlights of the HITAC to date. The HITAC is composed of 32 volunteers who make recommendations to the National Coordinator of Health IT regarding implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act. Those recommendations include ones related to implementation of the ONC Cures Act Final Rule and Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.

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.

Careers at ONC


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:

Key Takeaways from the ONC 2020 Annual Meeting
Did you miss the headlines from ONC’s 10th Annual Meeting? If so, they have compiled a list of the major themes from this year’s meeting. The event hosted more than 1,200 stakeholders and focused on the importance of patients’ access to health information, privacy concerns, health care cost transparency, health IT standards, and what these topics look like from different perspectives. All plenary sessions and keynote messages from the Annual Meeting are available via webcast. Presentations from breakout sessions will be available on HealthIT.gov soon.

Health IT Advisory Committee Task Forces
The Health IT Advisory Committee (HITAC) launched four task forces to review and provide recommendations on ONC’s proposed rule. The task forces include: Information Blocking, Conditions and Maintenance of Certification Requirements, Health IT for the Care Continuum and U.S. Core Data for Interoperability. The task forces are expected to conduct reviews and provide recommendations over the next two months. Follow the Task Forces

Advancing the Collection and Use of Patient-Reported Outcomes through Health Information Technology – Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures can help improve patient care, but how do we standardize the exchange and integration of PRO data into health information technology? The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) developed and pilot-tested an implementation guide using Health Level Seven International® Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources®, which establishes the specification to support collecting, exchanging, and integrating PRO data in real time in healthcare settings. Read more about the PRO project in the final report.

ONC Has the Data
Close to 50 original data briefs that provide information about current topics in health IT are available on HealthIT.gov. These reports summarize national-level data analyses, providing readers with easy to understand graphics, key takeaways, and policy discussions. Check out ONC’s Data Briefs.

Health IT Advisory Committee Meeting
The next Health IT Advisory Committee Meeting will be held Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

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.