ONC releases developer transparency requirements to educate providers on HIT products

WASHINGTON--In an effort to ensure that HIT developers are transparent about what their products can and cannot do, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released enhanced regulatory requirements.

The requirements were created with purchasers and users in mind to ensure they "better understand the capabilities and limitations of their health IT products," according to a post at the ONC's Health IT Buzz blog written by Elise Sweeney Anthony, acting director of the Office of Policy, and Steven Posnack, director of the Office of Standards and Technology.

In what likely was her last keynote address at ONC's annual meeting, National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo (pictured) said that pushing for more market transparency is part of the agency's overall effort to move to federally recognized national standards that enable a more "seamless flow of data." DeSalvo currently also serves as acting assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

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"This is a way to put plain language information out there for providers who are looking to purchase health IT," she said of the requirements. "This is a way to really let folks know what they're purchasing, know what they're not and create a better platform for a transparent marketplace."

The requirements, the blog post added, will be applicable to HIT certified for the 2014 Edition and 2015 Edition of certification criteria.

Under the requirements, developers will have to:

  • Disclose the costs and limitations of their products that buyers may come across when implementing or using the tools. This information must be posted on developers' websites and published in marketing materials.
  • "Submit a transparency attestation that states whether they will take additional, voluntary actions to promote transparency." Those actions include participating in discussions about their business practices and making that information is available to customers

Developers that don't meet the requirements will be investigated by ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies and could be at risk of losing their health IT certifications, according to the blog post.

Transparency-related information stemming from the new regulation can be found on the Certified Health IT Product List and at a new website, HealthIT.gov/transparency.

To learn more:
- here's the blog post
- visit the website