ONC seeks guidance on measuring interoperability under MACRA

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a request for information to obtain input from the public regarding how to support and measure interoperability, as required by the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

In a notice issued April 7, ONC notes that Congress declared in MACRA a national objective to achieve widespread exchange of health information through interoperable certified electronic health record technology nationwide by Dec. 31, 2018. The Department of Health and Human Services is to establish by July 1, 2016, in consultation with stakeholders, the metrics to be used to determine if and to what extent this objective is met. 

Accordingly, ONC is looking for input on three topics:

  1. What populations and elements of information flow should be measured
  2. The current data sources and potential metrics that address this national objective
  3. What other data sources and metrics should HHS consider regarding this objective or to measure interoperability more broadly

While ONC welcomes additional comments, it also sets out to answer questions on topics, including:

  • Whether the focus of measurement should be limited to "meaningful EHR users" or be more consistent with how ONC plans to measure interoperability for assessing progress related to its interoperability roadmap
  • Addressing eligible professionals under MACRA's Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and those who participate in the alternative payment models
  • Whether the focus of measure should be limited to the use of certified EHR technology

In a related blog post, Seth Pazinski, director of ONC's office of planning, evaluation and analysis, and Talisha Searcy, the director of research and evaluation for the same office, noted that the seamless flow of information is a common theme of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and ONC's Interoperability Roadmap, and that those and other efforts to increase data exchange "all help to support the flow of health information when and where it is needed for patient care."

To learn more:
- read the request for information (.pdf)
- here's the blog post