ONC's new plan to measure interoperability: 5 things to know

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The ONC has outlined how it intends to measure interoperability, a requirement detailed in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. The agency plans to use existing national surveys of clinicians' EHR use so as not to add to their reporting burden.

The ONC detailed its new measurement plan in a July 1 blog post. Here are five things to know about the agency's new plan to measure interoperability.

1. MACRA requires the ONC to measure the healthcare system's success in achieving "widespread interoperability," and the agency sought stakeholder input on how best to do that. A recurring theme of received comments was concern over the scope and burden for clinicians reporting measurements.

2. The ONC identified two key interoperability measures that address stakeholder feedback as well as MACRA's parameters: The proportion of healthcare providers electronically engaging in core domains of interoperable exchange, and the proportion of healthcare providers who report using the information they electronically receive from outside providers in their decision-making.

3. "Importantly, these measures do not add to providers' reporting burden as part of their participation in federal healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but rather come from existing national surveys of hospitals and office-based physicians," according to the ONC blog. The surveys from which the ONC will assess the measures are the American Hospital Association's Information Technology Supplement Survey and the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics' annual National Electronic Health Record Survey of office-based physicians.

4. These surveys have high response rates and are completed by providers nationwide, offering a broad perspective of exchange and interoperability, according to the ONC.

5. The MACRA requirement currently focuses on interoperability for "meaningful users," but the ONC plans to expand the measurement efforts across the care continuum.

More articles on interoperability:

The progression of unplanned care: Past, present and an interoperable future 
Lack of interoperability could derail opioid Rx monitoring efforts, says advocacy group 
The 'digital dystopia': 4 thoughts from AMA CEO Dr. James Madara 

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