A workshop took place recently hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) where individuals engaged in the exchange of electronic health information (EHI). In this workshop, participants found several aspects the most challenging, namely technical capacity, training, and interoperability. The half-day session saw the participation of almost 200 people. Participants looked at technical methods and practical advice for sharing EHI in accordance with the 21st Century Cures Act’s information blocking rules and other relevant laws. In addition to this, the event also looked at actual examples from the business world of how businesses have put EHI sharing protocols in place for patients and other authorized users.
Training between departments and with individual patients was cited by several organizations as a top priority for EHI sharing. Patients are helped to understand their options for obtaining and sharing their EHI through frequent provider-to-patient education. Additionally, workshop participants reported that higher rates of patient engagement were a result of better understanding about EHI sharing possibilities. Participants also emphasized the significance of having the technical capacity and workflows to address varying patient choices and demands for the sharing of EHI. In a HealthIT release on the matter, the following was stated by author Amanda Woodhead: “Participants noted the importance of having the technical capability and workflows to respond to differing patient preferences and differing needs around the sharing of EHI. Implementing patient preferences that specify what they want to get or share, with whom, and in what timeframe can be dependent on electronic workflows, and sometimes that means creating new ones.”
Organizations have noted that it can be difficult to exchange data with health IT programs and systems that are not ONC-certified. For instance, sharing some EHI, like photographs, may be more challenging.
On October 6, 2022, the term “information blocking” will no longer be restricted to the EHI subgroup represented by data elements in version 1 of the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI v1).