Continuing ONC’s non-regulatory approach to governance of the nationwide health information network

Jodi G. Daniel | December 19, 2013

Last year, in a blog post by former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, we announced a number of activities to promote a series of activities as part of a non-regulatory approach to governance of the nationwide health information network.   The activities were based on feedback and input we received from a wide range of stakeholders through a request for information on governance.  The public comments urged ONC not to issue regulations but to listen, learn, and engage with governance activities in the field.  As we come to the end of 2013, we are pleased with progress on these activities, including:

  • issuing two cooperative agreements to address specific operational issues in health information exchange;
  • publishing a framework of governance principles for trusted exchange
  • convening a National HIE Governance Forum of key existing governance entities through our cooperative agreement partner, the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) to identify their common challenges and potential common solutions; and
  • monitoring the level of health information exchange to spot successes and issues.

ONC will review all the work done to date and extract important lessons about the status of health information exchange across organizations, geographical boundaries, and systems.

Because the NeHC grant – and the Forum work – ends this year, we would like to thank the NeHC staff and the distinguished Forum members for contributing significant insights into the governance landscape and opportunities to strengthen exchange across different exchange communities.  These efforts to improve health information exchange will benefit patients through by allowing them and their providers to access health information to improve the patients’ care and health. Information about the Forum’s work will be posted on ONC’s website when it’s completed.

We will continue to gather information and engage with governance stakeholders through diverse channels, and we will keep all stakeholders informed as we move forward. Ultimately, we will engage our HIT Policy and HIT Standards Committees to provide recommendations on future activities.