Looking ahead to ONC committee work

As the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) follows the impact on meaningful use Stage 1, looks to implementation of Stage 2 and starts thinking about Stage 3, agency officials have outlined some of their work priorities for the next several months.

ONC committees are going to be tackling an array of issues.

In May, the Health IT Standards Committee will hear updates on workgroups examining standards for transporting data to and from patients, as more providers look to expand patient portals and doctor-patient email communication, which are options in meaningful use stage 2. Also in May, the Standards Committee will hear updates on use case clarification for image exchange standards.

In June, the committee will hear about efforts by the Clinical Operations Workgroup to address current standards content gaps, such as HL7 version 2 lab orders, formulary downloads and the representation of genomic data in EHRs.

In July, the committee will be updated on the Clinical Operations Workgroup’s effort to address unambiguous parsing, longitudinal record-sharing and bulk record-sharing.

Then in August the committee will hear about ongoing discussions of application programming interfaces (including open APIs) that can support modular application integration, and the Clinical Operations Workgroup will brief the Standards Committee on standards for supporting flexible platforms that measure and report healthcare quality data and standards for clinical decision support, including both knowledge representation systems and APIs for query-response.

Looking to September and October, the committee is going to hear updates to workgroup progress on standards for supporting medical defect reporting to patient safety organizations and standards for registry support, such as structured data capture and transmission to third-party repositories.

Doug Fridsma, MD, director of the ONC’s Office of Science and Technology, is spearheading discussions on standards for structured data capture, as part of a project launched in January in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Fridsma said the “exponential growth in volume and detail of information” now being digitally captured by healthcare organizations brings a variety of opportunities to improve patient safety, expand public health reporting and improve clinical research.