ONC Tiger Team: Accounting of disclosures rule should focus on 'value over volume'

ONC's Health IT Policy Committee Tiger Team plans to recommend that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services approach HIPAA's accounting of disclosures rule for electronic health records in a "step-wise" fashion and balance the needs of patients and providers.    

In its most recent meeting, the team endorsed a "philosophy of 'less is more,' [or value over volume, quality over quantity] in which the scope of disclosures and related details to be reported to patients provide information that is useful to patients, without overwhelming them or placing undue burden on covered entities," as outlined in its PowerPoint presentation.

Some of the recommendations the team plans to make to the Health IT Policy Committee at its next meeting on Dec. 4 include:

  • HHS should focus first on disclosures made outside the covered entity or organized healthcare arrangement
  • ONC should pilot the technology to be used
  • The entity disclosing the information should be named, not the specific individual within the entity, as recommended in the proposed rule.

The Tiger Team also reviewed the comments and testimony obtained from health industry stakeholders at its virtual hearing Sept. 30, held to gather information about HHS' proposed rule. The five-hour hearing included testimony from patient, payer, provider and vendor/business associate panels.

The proposed accounting for disclosures rule, which implements the provision in the HITECH Act extending the existing accounting of disclosures law when records were in electronic form, was issued in 2011. The rule created a furor within the industry, with many saying that it was overreaching and impracticable.

It is not known when a final rule will be forthcoming.

To learn more:
- access the Nov.18 meeting materials

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