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Proposed Interoperability Rules Receive Unreserved Endorsement from Past Policymakers

Health Affairs published a blog post yesterday, penned by each of the former National Coordinators for Health IT.  They offer unanimous and unreserved bipartisan support for the ONC and CMS' proposed health IT interoperability rules.  Their unified show of support delivers a significant counterweight to comments made by influential industry groups, which recommend a longer window to implement the rules or completely different approaches. Here is a highlight of the comments made the former health IT policy leaders: Rapid advancement of APIs enabled by data standards is critical. Open APIs have been safely and effectively deployed in other industries, including financial services, energy and retail consumer services. HL7 FHIR is an appropriate foundational standard for open APIs in healthcare. Efforts to further advance this standard is critical. Regulators did well to include clinical notes and their provenance as data elements in the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability, so that they can be included in the first set of required open API standards. Real world testing of open APIs will be a critical implementation step for the safe and effective adoption of open APIs in healthcare. Expansion of the interoperability and API framework to health plans is game-changing. Including health plans…

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I submitted a comment to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT today.   Below is the text. Dear Dr. Rucker, I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the proposed rules for data interoperability, information blocking and the ONC’s health IT certification program. I counsel HIPAA covered entities and vendors of healthcare technologies on privacy, data security and contracts.  This vantage point gives me a point of view about consumer privacy and data portability.  I would like to offer my comments on the information blocking rule, particularly in regard to the "promoting privacy" exception and, more broadly, the policies that give effect to the individual right of access under HIPAA. The HIPAA Privacy Rule and Data Portability Between Covered Entities The HIPAA Privacy Rule includes detailed specifications that govern the permissible disclosure of PHI between covered entities, but it does not affirmatively require these disclosures to be made.  This is a critical juncture where data portability gets stuck.  The information blocking rule fills a critical gap in the HIPAA Privacy Rule, by inducing health care providers and their respective supply chains to facilitate data portability with other HIPAA covered entities, or else face negative consequences under the enforcement authorities…

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