ONC to keep tabs on HIE reporting requirement

Though federal funding for state health information exchanges is running out, the reporting burden won't end.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology plans to continue to keep tabs on state HIEs by requiring a yearly report. It published a notice to extend its Information Collection Request authority for state HIE reporting beyond the current March 31, 2014, expiration date.

"States and Qualified State Designated Entities will be required to submit an annual update to the state plans reflecting updated legal, policy or technical infrastructure changes, as well as expanded content on sustainability and business planning for the HIE services fostered through the cooperative agreement, evaluation of the project, and alignment with other federal programs authorized in HITECH," according to the notice.

ONC staff then will use project management timelines and milestones in the state reports to monitor their progress toward expanding HIE capacity.

"ONC [intends] to use the State Plans' content to highlight best practices, identify areas in need of technical assistance, and document progress to program goals," the notice states.

It concedes that reporting will be intensive, estimating the annual state reports will require 3,341.3 hours to compile and subsequent updates to take 500 hours.

A report from BlackBook Research released this week said 83 percent of the nation's public HIEs are stalling as federal funds dry up.

The report pointed to payers, frustrated that they're not seeing the expected return on investment, leading a move toward private efforts. It predicted as few as 10 of the operating public HIEs are expected to still be in business by 2017, unless they develop more effective processes, revenue streams and business models.

Chicago-based Rush Health is developing one of those private HIEs, with plans to connect its three hospitals and close to 1,000 physicians. It's also expected to link up with MetroChicago Health Information Exchange, connecting 34 Chicago-area hospitals.

To learn more:
- here's the notice from ONC

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