Mostashari Says Health Information Exchange Will Ramp Up This Year

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During a Health IT Policy Committee meeting this week, National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari said that he expects to see greater implementation of health information exchange technology in 2012, Healthcare IT News reports.

The ability to exchange health data is a key component of demonstrating meaningful use of electronic health records. Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Comments From the Meeting

During the meeting, Mostashari predicted that health data exchanges will ramp up in 2012 because health information systems are becoming more interoperable.

Claudia Williams -- state health information exchange program director at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT -- said ONC-funded state health data exchanges have started harmonizing multiple exchange networks and models from within a state.

Doug Fridsma -- director of ONC's Office of Standards and Interoperability -- said that as of January, 22 federal and nongovernmental agencies were participating in the Nationwide Health Information Network -- a national health IT infrastructure that aims to help health care providers exchange data.

According to Fridsma, 40 state health data exchanges plan to use services from the Direct Project -- a streamlined version of NwHIN -- for their networks, and four state exchanges already have implemented Direct Project protocols (Mosquera, Healthcare IT News, 2/3).

Kim Slocum
My problem with the ONC's comments in this article involves looking at the Direct Project as "health information exchange" when in fact it really just represents a medical version of secure e-mail. The original HIE vision was to assist in the creation of a robust cross-enterprise EHR. That goal is still vital for effective health care reform, but we don't seem to hear much about it anymore.

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