EHRA to ONC on 'information blocking' definition: Go on...

Dive Brief:

  • The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's (ONC) report regarding vendors who engage in information blocking has the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association questioning the definition of "information blocking." 
  • ONC's report concluded some providers and vendors created technical, legal, and business barriers between their EHR systems and other systems to disrupt information flow. 
  • The association submitted a letter to Dr. Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health IT, stating there are "a limited number of anecdotes of information blocking, but determining which are truly information blocking per the definition is not easy. Any assessment of potential information blocking must be fact-based, given a specific situation, and include the perspectives of all stakeholders before declaring that information blocking, has, in fact, occurred." 

Dive Insight:

Dr. Sarah Corley, EHRA vice chair and chief medical officer for NexGen Healthcare said, "We believe that information blocking definitely needs to be addressed where it occurs if it's intentional and unreasonable, based on the current ONC definition. Where we need clarity is more examples of what is information blocking, because the devil is in the details."

The group also stated if vendors are intentionally blocking information, penalties should occur, but again, better definitions are required. 

EHR vendors who signed the letter include Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, e-MDs, Evident, McKesson, NextGen, and Practice Fusion. According to Healthcare IT News, ONC's report was aimed at technology companies when stating it received "a substantial body of complaints" from health systems regarding costs of accessing data from their EHR system for their own use or to move to different EHR technology. 

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Filed Under: Health IT Policy & Regulation
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