ONC to study lab data sharing capabilities

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT wants to conduct a national survey on health information exchange capabilities of clinical laboratories, according to a proposed information collection request submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval that recently was posted in the Federal Register.

According to the notice, the survey will assess and evaluate the electronic transfer of health information from labs to ordering physicians. It will focus on two key measures: 1) the percentage of laboratory facilities able to send results electronically, and 2) the percentage of results currently being sent electronically in coded format to ordering physicians.

"ONC will use these survey findings to develop a comprehensive understanding of the baseline level of laboratory information exchange in order to inform program activities to promote laboratory information exchange and provide more targeted assistance to states and territories in developing their laboratory information exchange strategies," the notice said.

ONC also reiterated a request from August to renew its study of the usability of a model privacy notice for personal health records. "If patients cannot adequately understand the notice because of its length or complexity, then the use and disclosure of their health information is not open and transparent," that notice said.

ONC wants to revise the model notice using the same focus group and cognitive usability interview testing it has used in the past, and will recruit participants through a screening program. The current approval from OMB originally was slated to expire Sept. 30; it now is slated to expire Oct. 31.

OMB will accept comments on both requests until Nov. 19, 2012.

To learn more:
- here are the notices
- here's the first notice on the model NPP