True to its promise, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has provided more support toward health information exchange development, partnering with DirectTrust and the interoperability workgroup of the New York eHealth Collaborative to foster HIE governance and operational development.
The contract awards, announced in a blog post April 4 by Claudia Williams, ONC's director of the State Health Information Exchange Program, aim to:
- Develop and adopt policies, interoperability requirements and business practices that align with national priorities
- Overcome interoperability challenges
- Reduce implementation costs
- Assure the privacy and security of health information exchange
Williams noted in her blog post that ONC will be sharing more information on the grantees' work plans in the next few weeks.
DirectTrust, a trade association for organizations using or offering the Direct Project for secure messaging, will receive $280,000 to develop an accreditation program and related work. The New York eHealth Collaborative, meanwhile, will receive $200,000 to develop standards to support interoperability among providers and HIEs, according to Health Data Management. Both contracts are for one-year terms.
HIE stakeholders, concerned about the lack of technical standards, distrust among providers and security of patient information, have asked for more federal guidance for HIE governance. ONC originally was to have promulgated regulations on HIE governance. However, after receiving feedback, it confirmed in December 2012 that it will provide voluntary guidance and other assistance instead.