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ONC interop rules must include measures for success, experts say

On June 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ final rules regarding healthcare technology – comprising regulations put forth by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concerning data sharing among patients, providers and app developers – went into effect.

ONC and CMS called the rules , which fulfill the related provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, “transformative” at the time of their finalization.

But, critics point out, the rules lacked a measure for effectiveness.

Writing for the Health Affairs blog this week, three University of California, San Francisco, informatics and health policy experts proposed a framework for short- and long-term measurements of stakeholder behavior.

“In concept, the regulations take a giant leap forward,” wrote Mark Savage, Aaron Neinstein and Julia Adler-Milstein in the post. “In practice, they might fall short of the nation’s goals. How will we know? How can we spot gaps and make timely corrections?”

“We must be able to gauge whether focal actors – in particular, [electronic health record] vendors and providers – are engaging in the desired behaviors, and at what levels, to meet national imperatives Congress set out in the Cures Act,” they asserted. […]

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