ONC initiative will limit EHR data shared by providers

Early next month, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will launch a new initiative to enable providers to share only portions of an electronic health record with others.                

The Data Segmentation Initiative, which we mentioned briefly in FierceHealthIT two weeks ago, will go live Oct. 5. It was announced by ONC Chief Privacy Officer Joy Pritts on the Health IT Buzz blog, and is intended to produce a pilot project "that will allow providers to share portions of an electronic medical record while not sharing others, such as information related to substance abuse treatment, which is given heightened protection under the law," she writes.

The project aims to examine and evaluate standards needed to share information through the use, among other things, of metadata tagging of private attributes in patient records.

In a mid-August blog post, National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari commented that the project's goal was to "enable the implementation and management of health information disclosure policies originated from a patient's request, statutory and regulatory authority or organizational disclosure requirements." In other words, the technology eventually could allow patients to choose what information providers share electronically.

ONC is encouraging broad participation in the initiative and invites anyone to join either as a "committed member" or an "other interested party". The workgroup will meet by webinar and teleconference on a regular and frequent basis. Committed members will, among other things, help write and edit implementation specifications, help write code for production or test implementation, and support providers in real-world pilots. Other interested parties are invited to participate, but will not have voting rights.

To learn more:
- read ONC's announcement
- to join the initiative here