Former national coordinators highlight 4 critical components of the HHS final interoperability rules

Six former ONC leaders congratulated HHS on the final interoperability rules, which dropped March 9, and outlined several critical features of the regulations.

The March 10 letter, addressed to Donald Rucker, MD, national coordinator for health IT, and Seema Verma, CMS administrator, was penned by six former ONC leaders. Those individuals are David Blumenthal, MD; David Brailer, MD; Karen DeSalvo, MD; Robert Kolodner, MD; Farzad Mostashari, MD; and Vindell Washington, MD.

"The Interoperability Rules give us strong reason to believe the obstacles that inhibited information sharing will now be overcome and we will indeed experience a paradigm shift that enables far greater consumer access and control over health information, as well as supports tremendous leaps in our ability to foster innovation in how we pay for and deliver healthcare services," the letter states.

Here are four critical features of the interoperability rules, according to the former ONC leaders: 

1. The adoption of HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource as the standard for application programming interfaces.

2. The requirement of Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP and Federal exchanges health plans to use FHIR-based APIs to make patient claims and other electronic health information available to patients.

3. The newly established Condition of Participation, which will ensure hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid are advancing interoperability requirements, including the use of electronic patient notifications as a tool for improving transition of care between settings.

4. The development of information blocking rules, which are designed to ensure patients have timely and cost-effective access to their clinical information.

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