The Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA), which represents 30 electronic health record (EHR) companies, urged the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to build on existing standards and technology for interoperability, rather than introducing major mid-course changes, with regard to its work on the 21st Century Cures Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.
EHRA members, including companies such as Cerner, Modernizing Medicine, McKesson Corporation and NextGen Healthcare, urge ONC to make the framework voluntary, with future work building upon existing standards and technology approaches for interoperability.
The association says it supports secure exchange of data and non-discrimination in data-sharing and also recommends that ONC build upon “the important investments and progress that have been made by stakeholders, versus introducing major mid-courage changes which would lead to disruption.”
“EHRA emphasizes that important work and investments have been made by developers, HIEs, exchange consortia, providers, payers, and other stakeholders in technical standards and technology approaches for interoperability and encourages future work by ONC to build upon and not undermine or reduce the value of this foundation,” EHRA wrote in its letter to ONC.
Further, EHRA also wrote that, in addition to health IT developer investments in these standards and associated technology approaches, “healthcare providers have already invested in purchasing and upgrading to health IT that supports these standards and to aligning their workflows and data capture to populate these formats.” Also, EHR developers and others in the industry have invested in and engaged with a variety of rapidly accelerating exchange/trust networks and frameworks, including CommonWell, eHealth Exchange, Carequality, the CARIN Alliance, and DirectTrust, EHRA wrote.
EHRA also notes that some comment areas proposed by ONC seem to extend beyond Cures requirements and recommends that ONC should clearly state these as policy goals, as opposed to statutory requirements.