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Would Health IT APIs Become a Public Utility under the ONC’s Proposed Rules?

The Cures Act directs the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to implement Conditions and Maintenance of Certification that require EHR vendors to provide open APIs without special effort.  In its proposed rule, the ONC not only proposes technical standards and technical outcome expectations to facilitate access, exchange and use of electronic health information using FHIR-based APIs; it also takes direct aim at rent-seeking business practices and behaviors that it believes interfere with data interoperability.  This blog reviews the ONC proposal to restrict the fees that health IT developers would be permitted to charge for their certified API technologies, and offers some thoughts about the impact the fee proposals could have in the market. Background The ONC’s proposal to regulate fees on API technology would apply to EHR vendors, which would be required to implement the proposed certification criterion for FHIR-based “standardized API for patient and population services” within 24 months after final rules take effect.  Other health IT vendors have the option of presenting API technologies to the ONC for testing and certification under the ONC Health IT Certification Program.  API Technology Suppliers with certified API technologies would be subject to proposed Conditions and Maintenance of…

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