Individual and community level health information exchange is the most recent focus of ONC funding continuing the journey to move us close to seamless interoperable health information exchange.
ONC continues to infuse dollars to advance our nation’s ability to easily exchange data to increase our ability to send, receive and access essential health information where and when it is needed. This funding opportunity is aligned with ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap – a resource that is facilitating a shift to a nationwide learning health system – which ONC explains, is an environment that links the care delivery system with communities and societal supports in “closed loops” of electronic health information flow, at many different levels, to enable continuous learning and improved health.
While there are several different health information exchange initiatives occurring across the country – at the community, regional or national level – ONC continues to do a good job of recognizing these efforts and allocating dollars which can accelerate the work that is already taking place. A good example is the most recent funding opportunity titled, Community Interoperability and Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program. This one year grant opportunity, which is set to commence on August 14, 2015, has three areas of focus:
- Identify a specific non-eligible provider population (e.g. LTPACs, behavioral health) and help this population adopt and use the specified health IT tool (e.g. portal) or HIE service.
- Extend an existing HIE service or use case (e.g. building HIE capacity, community care coordination) with the targeted non-eligible population.
- Develop a sound engagement strategy built on a strong evidence base or successful previous experiences, for use by the non-eligible care provider population.
The overarching theme within this funding opportunity is focused on the community and individual care providers and helping them to become an active voice and participant in the journey towards meaningful health information exchange. The last several years and the most recent HIE FOA to advance Interoperability, has had a strong focus on state and regional connectivity, but after numerous educational sessions and the HIE Symposium at HIMSS15, it is clear that the non-eligible provider population are rightfully being brought into the interoperability equation. They are critical players who can help ensure that communities are healthy and that care-takers and families have the information they need to ensure the best care for their patients and loved ones.
We encourage people to visit HIMSS resources such as the HIE Enterprise Toolkit and the Public Health & HIE Toolkit, to gain information about how health information exchange impacts these populations.