Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. EHR Technology Developers and Users
    Please contact Nora Super with questions about becoming a Test EHR.
    The authorized vendor of the EHR technology will host test EHRs locally.
    Please contact Kevin Brady with specific questions about the Randomizer tool. There is an EHR Randomizer Google Group  to ask questions.
    The EHR technology must have and maintain certification under the ONC HIT Certification Program to at least the required (not optional) content and transport standards for the certification criterion...
    Test EHRs will be required to send Email response to Providers within 1 day of completion of test, with appropriate notification of success or failure. If the exchange is successful, then, the...
    Yes, the combination of your EHR product and the relied upon software may serve as a Test EHR as long as the Test EHR is used exactly as it was certified.
    Test EHRs and providers can indicate membership to DirectTrust or other trust community, but it is not a requirement.
    Yes, as long as you maintain certification to the 45 CFR 170.314(b)(1) criterion and can meet the other requirements specified for Test EHRs, your product may serve as a Test EHR.
    Test EHRs will be required to begin testing within 5 days (of scheduled availability) of establishing mutual trust.
    At this point, Test EHRs will only test exchange through the Direct specification, which is required for certification to 45 CFR 170.314(b)(1). The Randomizer and Test EHR capability may be expanded...
    Test EHRs will be required to send Email response to Providers within 1 day of completion of test, with appropriate notification of success/failure.
    The Randomizer tool is developed by NIST and hosted at a NIST managed facility. It is accessible at http://ehr-randomizer.nist.gov.
    Provider should send the following information to the Test EHR, when requesting test: Contact Name Email Address Phone number Location EHR System & version Direct Address Trust Anchor
    The Randomizer tool uses information supplied by MU eligible professionals and hospitals to randomly select a Test EHR from the list of authorized Test EHR systems that are different from the...
    Test EHRs will be required to send Email response to Providers within 1 day of completion of test, with appropriate notification of success/failure If the issue is with the provider, the provider...
    The EHR technology vendor must demonstrate and maintain ability to execute the “Authorized Vendor Test Instruction” as described in the “Test Instructions for Cross Vendor Exchange” draft document...
    The CHPL ID used to specify the Certified EHR is located on the detailed page for the specific Certified EHR product located on the ONC CHPLOnce you have accessed the ONC CHPL, search for the...
    While there are no specific requirements placed on the Test EHRs, we expect the Test EHRs to keep their system available during normal business hours, to ensure maximum usage. Additionally, Test...
    The ONC CHPL is updated with newly certified products on a weekly basis. Once a product is certified and posted on the ONC CHPL it will be added to the EHR Randomizer within the next week
    In order to enable providers to exchange Direct messages easily, Test EHR vendors must provide the following information when registering with the Randomizer and must agree to keep it current:EHR...
    Test EHRs will not have to maintain any information about the cross vendor exchange tests conducted by the providers using their Test EHRs. It is the responsibility of the eligible professional or...
    It is ONC’s desire to make the test as automated as possible. The EHR Randomizer tool enables automation by providing the necessary trust certificates for the selected Test EHR to the providers to...
    In order to comply with MU transition of care measure #3, an eligible professional or hospital must send a Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture care summary record/document to the Test EHR....
    Presently, the only requirement for Test EHRs is to provide and maintain information in a central location as described in Q10 above. However, vendors will be required to let the providers know if...
    Detailed steps can be found in the “Test Instructions for Cross Vendor Exchange” document
    The overall process will consist of designating multiple certified EHR technologies as “Test EHRs.” All authorized Test EHRs will be installed and running locally at the respective vendor sites and...
    Please refer to “Developer Participant Information for Cross Vendor Exchange” document
    First, your EHR technology must be certified to the ONC 2014 Edition HIT Certification criterion at 45 CFR 170.314(b)(1) for transitions of care – receive, display, and incorporate transition of care...
  2. Blue Button - Information for Developers
    Maybe. Stage 2 of Meaningful Use requires that patients be given the capability to view, download and transmit their health data electronically. These requirements are fully aligned with the Blue...
    The ONC Pledge Program was launched in September 2011 to catalyze and support organizations at the vanguard of empowering individuals to be partners in their health and health care through health IT...
    No, but it used to be. Blue Button started as a simple-as-it-gets text (ASCII) file. But that was only the start. As more organizations adopted the Blue Button and more patients used it, it became...
    The Veterans Health Administration launched the Blue Button in August 2010 by adding it to VA’s MyHealtheVet patient portal. Veterans could use the Blue Button to download their health information in...
    ONC and the Department of Veterans Affairs have teamed up to launch a new Standards...
    Yes. Stage 2 of Meaningful Use requires that patients be given the capability to view, download and transmit their health data electronically. These requirements are fully aligned with the Blue...
  3. Blue Button - Introduction for General Audiences
    “Blue Button” is shorthand for a movement toward an improved healthcare system in which patients and providers use information technology to collaborate and improve health. The Blue Button logo...
  4. Blue Button - Using and Understanding the Blue Button
    “Blue Button” is a term that connotes easy, secure electronic access to your health data. Having access to this information can help you manage your care by having information you need to coordinate...
    You should already be taking care of yourself—or managing your care—by watching what you eat, exercising and taking advantage of preventive health benefits your health plan might offer. And many...
    You are not required by law to use Blue Button. However, being able to “blue button” your health data and share that information with others you trust could be helpful in the event of an emergency...
    Although your doctor may not want to offer you with a way to securely access your health record online, they are required by law to provide you with a way to view and get a copy of your medical...
    Your doctor is not required to offer Blue Button. However, there are financial incentives available from the federal government to encourage health care providers to adopt electronic health record...
    There should not be a cost. Ask your health care provider or health plan if they offer a way for you to view, download and share your health information online.
    The Blue Button allows you to download your personal health information, including information like your emergency contact information, health history, important test results, medications, allergies...
    To ensure that your personal health information is kept private and secure, typically only you can access the Blue Button after you have logged into your health care provider or health plan’s patient...
    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) helps keep entities covered under HIPAA accountable for the privacy and security of patients’ health information. Although electronic...
    Even if you don’t have access to Blue Button through your health plan, doctor or other health care provider such as pharmacies, nursing homes and labs, you still have a legal right to see and get a...
    Remember that unless you are a veteran, Medicare beneficiary or service member or your health plan, health care provider (doctor or hospital) or other entities where you seek care use Blue Button, it...
    It depends. The data that you are able to get from your health plan and your health care provider (doctor, hospital, etc.) may be different. Health plans may have both claims and personal health...
    The Blue Button enables you to securely access your personal health data online by clicking on a “Blue Button” logo or icon. You may have access to your claims and personal health information that...
    It depends if your health care provider, health plan (insurer), or other entity that manages your health data (e.g. pharmacy, lab, etc.) offers a way for you to get secure access to your health...
    Many people in the United States still don’t have easy, electronic access to their health information, and many don’t know that the Federal government has taken a large step towards solving that...
    Blue Button for America is a collaborative effort by the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand consumer access to personal health...
    To ensure that your personal health information is kept private and secure, typically only you can access the Blue Button after you have logged into your health care provider or health plan’s patient...
    The HIPAA Privacy Rule sets rules and limits over who can look at and receive your health information. The rules still apply with Blue Button so your doctor won’t have access to any information they...
  5. HIE Governance
    ONC will take an incremental approach and focus on common ground.
    The cooperative agreement awardees will collaborate with ONC to achieve specific HIE governance goals.  DirectTrust will continue and expand their work to establish security and trust rules of...
    The following list of publicly available policy documents address HIE privacy/security issues, including opt-in/opt-out issues: Privacy and Security Framework Requirements and Guidance for the...
    In our HIE strategy published in Health Affairs last year we said that consumer-mediated exchange was the third leg of our strategy.
    The agreements will address some of the stickiest implementation challenges facing the exchange of health information including patient matching, querying provider directories and applying good...
    No, there will be no formal public comment period for the framework of principles. We intend for the Governance Framework to be a living document. As we learn with you, we will consider updating...
    No, ONC will not publish specific guidelines to support HIE/HIO Business Associates requirements.  We suggest you read pre-amble to final HITECH rule [PDF - 909 KB], which outlines how the...
    ONC does not plan to monitor patient’s understanding of health data at this time. Our focus is to ensure electronic health information is accessible.
    ONC doesn't have current plans to poll HIEs. ONC does plan to leverage existing, available surveys, however and are still in the process of determining our HIE measurement approach.
    The report can be found on the Exemplar HIE governance entities program page.
    ONC, through various Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) and Health IT Standards Committee (HITSC) workgroups, has held hearings on both patient and provider authentication. Please refer to the...
    ONC’s governance approach is focused on providing guidance and best practices for health information exchange at a national level, addressing challenges to exchange between different exchange...
    Direct Trust is a cooperative agreement recipient and is also participating in the National Governance Forum.
    HealtheWay is an important governing body for health information exchange and is participating in the National HIE Governance Forum.
    Although not a direct incentive, ONC has published a Governance Framework [PDF - 393 KB] which is intended to provide a common foundation for all types of governance models and entities that set HIE...
    ONC has published a Governance Framework [PDF - 393 KB] which is intended to provide a common foundation for all types of governance models and entities that set HIE policy. The framework’s business...
    ONC co-sponsors a consumer consortium on eHealth with the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) that has over a hundred healthcare organizations participating, covering very diverse populations. The...
    Based on comments to our Request for Comments (RFC) which suggested that we learn from what’s happening already, the Forum is designed to bring together governance entities that are already leading...
    ONC has an email address, onc.request@hhs.gov, for submitting input which is on healthit.gov. At this time, we do not have resources to support an 800 number.
    There are opportunities to engage and inform the wider HIE stakeholder community such as participation in webinars, serving as Subject Matter Experts (SME) on particular topics, and transparency in...
  6. Investing in Innovation (i2)
    In January of 2009, President Obama directed OMB to issue an Open Government Directive [PDF - 86 KB] to prompt executive departments and agencies to take specific actions to implement the...
    Challenges enable the Federal government to tap into the expertise and creativity of the public in new ways. Under the Administrations’ directive calling for innovative ways to generate ideas and...
    HHS has created a webpage with extensive resources and links covering the entire challenge process. Visit Challenge.gov to view the challenges being run by the federal government.
    Challenge proposals must fit several criteria to proceed with further development. Most importantly, challenges must support the achievement of ONC and HHS strategic goals and have the potential to...
    Challenge reviewers are selected by the challenge managers for their subject matter and technical expertise. i2 reviewing panels are usually a mix of federal (ONC and other HHS agencies) and non-...
    Intellectual property policies vary from challenge to challenge and are specified in each challenge’s announcement in the Federal Register. Generally, ONC challenges leave intellectual property with...
    Challenges serve purposes beyond the creation of innovations and solutions to problems in health IT. They allow ONC to highlight specific programs, activities, and areas in need of development....
    Each challenge uses different criteria that reflect what should be achieved by an innovative solution. However, challenges with similar anticipated outcomes will have common criteria. For example,...
    Award amounts are determined similar to how challenges are selected. An award amount will be larger if, for example, the solution has a high degree of technical complexity, will require a longer...
    Individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and private entities incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the U.S. are eligible to win prizes. There are no...
    The Investing in Innovation program has launched 24 challenges, of which 21 have been completed so far. The completed challenges have recognized 72 winners and runners-up and awarded a total of $1,...
    The Investing in Innovation program has seen numerous successes and have generated applications and tools that are available to people right now to help them address and take charge of their health...
  7. ONC Regulations
  8. Privacy and Security
    HITECH (Section 13101) required the establishment of a Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC) to make recommendations on the policies needed to enable the electronic exchange and use...
    ONC is working with the federal Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC) and HIT Standards Committee (HITSC) to explore policy and technical methods for enabling patient choice in...
    ONC federal advisory committees have been active in collecting information, deliberating on key issues, and making recommendations to the National Coordinator on measures related to security of...
    Section 13101 of the HITECH Act (2009) required that a new Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) position be established in ONC. The CPO will advise the National Coordinator on critical privacy and security...
    The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the Department of Health and Human Services has the regulatory authority for the HIPAA Privacy and Security rules. OCR also issues guidance and...
  9. State Health Information Exchange
    Each group has an important role to play. States enabled by this cooperative agreement program will develop and implement a Strategic Plan that will ensure that a comprehensive set of actions will...
    States/SDEs play a critical leadership role fostering effective and efficient exchange of health information that leverages existing regional and state efforts and is based on HHS-adopted standards...
    Commercial barriers. The HITECH Act calls for the “development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information and that…...
    The HITECH Act seeks to improve patient care and make it patient-centric through the creation of a secure, interoperable nationwide health information network. A key premise is that information...
    The process of building meaningful use and HIE capacity in a state can best be described as an ongoing process of planning, implementation and evaluation that results in building and expanding...
    Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use incentives are anticipated to create demand for products and services that enable HIE among eligible providers. This demand for health information exchange will...
  10. Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP)
    The goals for each project are to develop technology solutions in the selected area of research, make the technology solutions available to the health information technology market, and make research...
    An award was made to each of these institutions: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and Harvard...
    ONC, and/or its representatives, will provide the following types of support to SHARP: Consultation and technical assistance in planning, operating, and evaluating the research activities...
    Any entity who submitted an application for this award was required to be a U.S.-based public or private institution of higher education; or other public or private institution or organization with a...
    The awards were made in the form of cooperative agreements with a four-year project period. Each cooperative agreement anticipates a total budget of approximately $15 million over the full four-year...
    Coordination will be facilitated by a Federal Steering Committee. There will be regular opportunities for interaction between principal investigators, senior staff, and senior researchers of the four...
    The cooperative agreements focus on breakthrough research. The work to be undertaken by awardees is intended to inform the development of tools and find its way into the development of tools and...
    Yes, the definition of IT products should be considered in the broadest possible sense and does not exclude those related to technologies developed in non-commercial settings or those intended to be...
    The SHARP program encourages collaborations with the vendor community and recognizes that they are essential to innovation within health IT. Vendors will be important in helping to develop the...
    For additional information, please contact onc.request@hhs.gov. Read more about the SHARP program.
    The SHARP program provides for new competitively-awarded cooperative agreements to establish Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP). Each awardee will implement a collaborative, inter...
    The SHARP program seeks to support improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare, through advanced information technology. The research projects supported by the SHARP program...
  11. Workforce - Community College Consortia Program
    The lead awardee of each funded Consortium, as the recipient of the cooperative agreement, is responsible for: Establishing the Consortium Organizing and managing the Consortium Issuing and...
    Institutions of higher education were eligible to apply. Any university that applied must also have been engaged in providing training in health IT. The lead awardee was also required to provide a...
    It is anticipated that each Community College Consortium will begin training by September 30, 2010.
    A health IT professional is someone who is qualified to support the adoption and implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), information exchange across health care providers and public...
    A non-degree program is a specific course of study designed to train individuals in targeted skills without earning a degree. Students receive a certificate or equivalent for successfully completing...
    In April 2010, ONC awarded cooperative agreements to five institutions to create Community College Consortia as part of this program. One award was made in each of five predetermined regions to...
    An award was made in March 2010. The duration of the grant award is for a maximum of two years. Total first-year funding allocation by region and lead awardees are provided below: RegionABCDE...
    A qualified pool of workers will be needed to ensure the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), information exchange across health care providers and public health authorities, and the...
    The Workforce Development program established under Section 3016 of the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act of 2009 consists of four programmatic components: This program: Community College...
  12. Workforce - Competency Examination Program
    The program provides $6 million via one cooperative agreement to the Northern Virginia Community College. The award will support the development, testing, and implementation of a mechanism to assess...
    Domestic institutions of higher education, or consortia thereof, were eligible to apply for the award.
    The award was made to Northern Virginia Community College in April 2010 in the form of one two-year cooperative agreement totaling $6 million.
    Faculty experts from community colleges and universities participating in the workforce development programs will provide the domain knowledge to structure the examinations and compose the test items...
    The purpose of this program is to provide support to one institution of higher education, or consortia thereof, to support the development and initial administration of a set of health information...
    The Workforce Development program established under Section 3016 of the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act of 2009 consists of four programmatic components: This program: Information...
  13. Workforce - Curriculum Development Centers Program
    The component files have been used successfully in many of the major learning management systems, such as Blackboard, Basecamp, Moodle, and others.
    In April 2010, cooperative agreements were awarded to Oregon Health & Science University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Duke University....
    Because the training for these roles and their competencies by the Community College Consortia is required to occur within a six-month period, it is expected that most of the students who will use...
    Oregon Health & Science University was awarded additional funding to serve as the National Training and Dissemination Center. This Center: Organized and hosted an in-person training event for...
    As described in Appendix B of the funding opportunity announcement and further expanded upon here [PDF - 30 KB], there are six health IT workforce roles requiring short-term training of six months or...
    While open to any member of the public, the intended audience is instructors at institutions of higher education, especially community colleges. Anyone who agrees to set up a profile on the NTDC...
    Component objectives have been developed for each curriculum component that address the competencies of the six short-term health IT workforce roles. A matrix [PDF - 13 KB] has been developed that...
    As you set up your profile the NTDC website, you must provide a valid e-mail address. This e-mail address will be added to an e-mail distribution list that will only be used by the NTDC for the...
    Within the matrix of components by role, a.k.a. the “set table,” components are designated as core, secondary, tertiary, or not relevant for a role, depending on whether the student has a health or...
    You may submit general questions and suggestions about the overall ONC HIT Workforce Curriculum Development Centers program via email to HITCurriculum@hhs.gov. If you are a Community College...
    At least 80% of the exam questions address the core units of the curriculum components. The rest of the exam questions may be based on results of an employer survey about the workforce roles. It is...
    Go to the NTDC website at http://www.onc-ntdc.org or http://www.onc-ntdc.info to set up a profile. Once you have successfully logged in, you will be able to download any of the components.
    The meaningful use regulation is covered explicitly in the components, as are supporting topics such as clinical decision support, electronic prescribing, health information exchange, public health...
    Per the original funding announcement, the universities acting as Curriculum Development Centers retain the copyright for their components. However, they have chosen to distribute the materials for...
    Domestic institutions of higher education, or consortia thereof, were eligible to apply for an award under this funding opportunity.
    Version 1.0, used by the Community College Consortia program in 2010-11, and Version 2.0, widely released in June 2011, will no longer be available once Version 3.0 is released, beginning March 2011...
    There is a hierarchy of terms used to describe the components: Curriculum, meaning a group of courses at an institution Course, meaning a group of related instructional classes over a period of time...
    The National Training and Dissemination Center has established a secure site from which users, such as community colleges and other institutions of higher education, can download the curriculum...
    Five cooperative agreements were awarded in April 2010 to the following institutions: InstitutionFunding Amount Oregon Health & Science University $2,720,000 (includes $900,000 for National...
    Collectively, the Centers have produced materials supporting instruction for 20 different content areas: Introduction to Health Care and Public Health in the U.S. (Oregon Health & Science...
    Date Milestone April 2010 Awards issued April 2010 Developers' Workshop Early August 2010 First draft of curriculum materials released to instructors from the Community College...
    Component objectives have been developed for each curriculum component that address the health IT workforce role competencies. Multiple learning units made up of elements such as lectures, activities...
    Many features have been added or substantially upgraded in Version 3.0: New content has been added on the topics of meaningful use, privacy and security, public health, health care industry,...
    The curriculum components represent a "buffet" of choices for instructors. While the components can stand on their own, instructors should choose the units within components that are relevant to...
    Again, the curriculum components represent a "buffet" of choices for instructors. Instructors should choose the units within components that are relevant to their course curriculum and that will fit...
    As part of an instructional buffet, the units in the components are designed to be mixed and matched as desired by the instructors. However, the default option would be to begin from Unit 1 of a...
    The purpose of this program is to provide $10 million in federal funds to five domestic institutions of higher education (or consortia thereof) to support health information technology (health IT)...
    Yes, as part of an instructional buffet, the units in the components are designed to be mixed and matched as desired by the instructors to meet their course learning objectives.
    The workforce development program established under Section 3016 of the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act of 2009 consists of four programmatic components: This program: Information...

Most Popular Questions

The award was made to Northern Virginia Community College in April 2010 in the form of one two-year cooperative agreement totaling $6 million.
Yes, the definition of IT products should be considered in the broadest possible sense and does not exclude those related to technologies developed in non-commercial settings or those intended to be...
The report can be found on the Exemplar HIE governance entities program page.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) helps keep entities covered under HIPAA accountable for the privacy and security of patients’ health information. Although electronic...
Yes, as long as you maintain certification to the 45 CFR 170.314(b)(1) criterion and can meet the other requirements specified for Test EHRs, your product may serve as a Test EHR.