ONC launches twin pilots for metadata standards

Following an advance notice of rulemaking on metadata standards to support health information exchange, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has announced two pilot programs to test the recommendations on these standards.

The first project, called the Query Health Initiative, will test standards for querying widely distributed databases such as those of electronic health records and community records originating in the course of patient care. The other program, the Data Segmentation Initiative, will assess standards designed to let patients block the release of sensitive healthcare information.

In its Query Health Initiative, ONC is seeking members for business, clinical, and technical workgroups. The latter workgroup will actually implement the initiative.

The two new initiatives are part of an online development wiki that supports ONC's Standards and Interoperability (S&I) Framework. According to the wiki, S&I is "a set of integrated functions, processes, and tools being guided by the healthcare and technology industry to achieve harmonized interoperability for healthcare information exchange."

Other facets of the S&I framework include the Transitions of Care Initiative, the Lab Results Interface Initiative, and the Certificate Interoperability Initiative.

In a mid-August blog post, Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health IT, commented on the impending Query Health Initiative. "Ultimately, this initiative will enable population analyses to inform both clinical and payment strategies for their health systems and practices, in alignment with the HITECH and Affordable Care Acts," he wrote. "Providers will be able to calculate quality measures for populations. From a HITECH perspective, Query Health will leverage the standards and policies that enable the Meaningful Use of patient care and health information exchange." 

To learn more:
- read the Health Data Management article
- visit the S&I wiki
- check out Mostashari's blog

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