New proposed rule could better define interoperability

A proposal from the HHS addresses interoperability, among other requirements.

Electronic health records (EHR) initiatives could be impacted by a proposed plan from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator. A comment period is in effect until May 29 in which the public can address the possible motion, detailed in a document more than 430 pages long. This plan would alter previous standards for records certification protocols, among other things, and require approved records technology to support meaningful use in certain applicable situations.

In an article for FCW, Adam Mazmanian analyzed the details of the proposal and the way it fits in with the government's general approach towards building up health systems that can communicate with each other. The rule would add a new application programming interface to the 2015 Edition Base EHR and attempt to encourage enhanced security while also reducing disparities within healthcare.

Mazmanian says that these actions follow previous government-sponsored collaborations based around important electronic health needs and standards.

As such, he alleges that the core of this recent "notice of proposed rulemaking" "likely won't come as much of a surprise to any of the leading EHR providers. The path toward interoperability rules has included industry and stakeholder participation in federal advisory committees designed to foster a degree of consensus on what a health record should contain, and the rules of the road for exchanging information by competing systems," he adds.

Granting greater guidance for installing EHR-based programs and standardization could give organizations the chance to follow an existing set of definitions for best practices. However, achieving the latest levels of interoperability is only a part of this effort: medical entities should also research their current performance to learn more about what they can do to stay at optimal levels of IT usage. Healthcare consulting firms will assist practices that need performance analysis and data measurement.

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