JASON task force to ONC: Consider delaying MU Stage 3 incentives

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT should narrow Meaningful Use Stage 3 to focus on interoperability and "assertively monitor" the transition to public APIs but implement only "non-regulatory steps" to catalyze the transition, according to ONC's JASON task force.

In its final recommendations, the task force reiterated a number of suggestions it has made previously, including the need to use Stage 3 as a "pivot point" to initiate the transition to public APIs and that currently interoperability approaches are limited and need to be eventually replaced by more comprehensive API-based architecture. 

The task force, co-chaired by Cerner's David McCallie and Micky Tripathi from the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, also suggested that narrowing Stage 3's focus on interoperability would would send a "strong signal" to the market and allow providers and vendors to focus their resources; Stage 2 has shown the industry that "overly broad and complex requirements slow progress on all fronts."

The task force also suggested that ONC consider delaying or staggering Stage 3 incentives to accommodate accelerated development process for public API specifications, and that ONC and CMS "act with urgency" to use HITECH to motivate industry-wide API capabilities.   

The task force disagreed with some of the findings of the original JASON report, such as its assumption of the need for "top down control" of unifying software architecture. The report was published in 2013.

Interoperability has become a top priority and a major concern, as providers still struggle to share data, a fact pointed out in ONC's latest report to Congress issued Oct. 10. Stakeholders are divided as to whether the government should take a more active role in supporting data sharing.

To learn more:
- read the JASON task force's final recommendations