Health information exchanges a priority for ONC

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) wants widespread implementation of health information exchanges (HIEs) to increase, reports Healthcare IT News.

Introduction of HIE integration, provider directories, scalability of medical informatics systems and standardization of patient health information were all identified by the ONC as necessary to progress toward the organization’s nationwide HIE project.

Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health IT, said that a single unified project would not be suitable for such an ambitious undertaking, and that any national HIE initiatives would have to successfully encompass several business models and delivery methods.

“It’s going to be a little messy but very liquid and fluid, where there will be lots of different means for information to go where it needs to go,” said Mostashari, speaking at a meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee, as quoted by the news source. “The vision we have is around standards, around directories, and a whole host of different ways that information can be shared and understood.”

In addition to centralized, national initiatives, Mostashari and the ONC are looking to physicians and patients to function as agents of change with regards to the implementation of HIEs and advanced medical informatics usage.

According to Information Week, Mostashari said demand for medical data was a driving factor in the business model for adoption of healthcare IT infrastructure such as HIEs and clinical informatics solutions.

The news source cited an article published in the journal Health Affairs that outlined the ONC’s national strategy for HIE implementation, in which Mostashari said the ultimate objective of HIEs and healthcare IT should be the elimination of clinician error, reductions in preventable hospital readmissions and an improved quality of care for patients.