HHS' next steps for advancing interoperability: 4 notes

HHS made several announcements April 19 outlining the path ahead for better health record exchange.

Four takeaways:

1. HHS issued new drafts of three documents that establish streamlined requirements for disparate health information networks to become part of a secure, nationally connected network. The following documents are open for public comment until June 17:

  • Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement
  • Minimum Required Terms and Conditions
  • Qualified Health Information Network Technical Framework

2. HHS also put out a request for applications for a nonprofit industry organization to develop, maintain and implement the health network requirements for four years. The chosen organization will be awarded $900,000 for the first year, with additional funding dependent on performance and available funds.

3. The agency published additional information about HIPAA as it relates to third-party apps. The key takeaway: If a person opts to share their protected health information with a third-party app, then the HIPAA-covered entity that supplies that information, such as a hospital, isn't liable for what happens to it.

4. HHS also extended the public comment period by 30 days for two proposed rules that would significantly change how the healthcare industry approaches interoperability and information exchange. Those proposed rules, part of the ONC 21st Century Cures Act and the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access rule, are now open for comment until June 3.

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