CCHIT: NwHIN governance should include multi-stakeholder representation

In responding to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's request for information for governance on the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN), the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) said this week that a public-private partnership would be a more effective approach to establishing trust, gaining wide adoption, and allowing for multi-stakeholder representation.

"It should be really broad," Karen Bell, chair of CCHIT, said in describing a future governing body, according to Healthcare IT News. She said it should include public health officials, providers, consumers and even third-party users outside of the federal government.

CCHIT urged the ONC to limit its role to the areas in which regulation is most effective, such as ensuring privacy and security, and said it's premature to set technical and business conditions on the network while it's in such an early stage.

While acknowledging the difficulty in scaling and testing for such a large project, the opinion called for a less burdensome process for validating participants in the project than those being considered. Bell said it's much too early to be deciding that process. CCHIT also suggested delegating as much authority as possible to the private sector.

The ONC is accepting comments through Friday on its governance mechanism--rules on technical, business practice, privacy and security requirements to establish trust and interoperability for the exchange.

In comments made last week, the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association said that ONC should focus on the governance model itself, rather than on proposing conditions for trusted exchange.

Jeremy Maxwell, vice chair of the association's Privacy and Security Workgroup, said, according to CMIO, that stricter requirements for privacy and security are unnecessary. Since most breaches are a result of physical loss or theft of media, he said, "we feel that the existing privacy and security protections in HIPAA are sufficient, at least at this juncture, for the foundational NwHIN."

To learn more:
- read the CCHIT letter
- here's the Healthcare IT News article
- read the EHR Association comments
- here's the CMIO article