ONC anticipates a busy start to 2010

Even as the weary staffers of Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology work down to the wire to help CMS get a definition of meaningful use of EMRs out by the end of the year, ONC also is looking toward a busy 2010. "We are beginning to think about what follows and the implementation of programs under way and some of the thorny issues we will be dealing with in the implementation process," national coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal said recently, according to Government Health IT.

In January, ONC will hear from states about perceived barriers to health information exchange. A month later, an unspecified group of experts will share their views on sharing health data--including information on outcomes--with patients and their families. Both concepts are expected to be a components of meaningful use, the standard hospitals and physicians will have to meet to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid subsidies for EMRs starting in 2011.

Also, Dr. Paul Tang, co-chair of ONC's Health IT Policy Committee, says his panel will hold hearings early next year to give providers and other organizations a say in the development of 2013 and 2015 criteria for meaningful use. Meanwhile, ONC will push ahead with plans to award millions of stimulus dollars to create regional health IT extension centers, establish workforce training programs, support state-level health information exchange and help 15 "beacon" communities share EMR and HIE success stories.

For more on the 2010 ONC agenda:
- peruse this Government Health IT story