Robert Kneschke -

Health IT Developers Take Strides Toward ONC Cures Update Criteria

Health IT developers must meet ONC Cures Update certification criteria for health data security and interoperability by December 31, 2022.

Health IT developers are making steady progress in fulfilling the new privacy and security certification criteria for the 2015 Edition Cures Update, according to a HealthITBuzz blog post written by ONC officials Jeff Smith, Tony Myers, and Papia Paul.

Approximately 50 percent of certified health IT modules currently support the 2015 Edition Cures Update criterion for encrypting authentication credentials and multi-factor authentication. Additionally, ONC has observed promising growth in the use of more granular security tags to restrict the redisclosure of sensitive information at the data entry level.

However, ONC officials noted that health IT developers must make considerable interoperability advances in the coming months to meet the 2015 Edition Cures Update deadline.

“There are several other important Cures Update certification criteria where considerable progress will need to occur throughout the year to meet the December 31, 2022 deadline, including the new standardized FHIR application programming interface (API) for patient and population services,” Smith, Myers, and Paul wrote.

Standardized FHIR APIs will facilitate interoperability across certified health IT developers and clinical settings to form a foundation for developing new software innovations, the officials noted.

“An ecosystem of APIs, underpinned by specific FHIR standards, will help ensure that health care providers, health insurers, public health agencies, accountable care organizations, and other healthcare entities can access and use patient data in new ways to manage their patients’ health and care,” they said.

Standard-based APIs will also help patients more easily access their personal health information.

Additionally, the 2015 Edition Cures Update requires certified health IT developers whose products are certified to several different criteria to incorporate USCDI v1 data elements into their offerings by December 31, 2022.

USCDI v1 represents the minimum set of data that health IT certified to specific certification criteria is required to support for data access and exchange, ONC officials explained.

Health IT previously certified to several different certification criteria needs to be updated to conform with USCDI v1

“Moreover, as a maintenance of certification requirement (45 CFR 170.404(b)(2)(ii)), certified health IT developers must provide these USCDI v1 updated capabilities to their customers by December 31, 2022, so we expect testing and certification to ramp up and occur in the coming months for many health IT developers,” Smith, Myers, and Paul wrote.

“We are thrilled to see several policy initiatives come to fruition in 2022 and are optimistic that this year will be an important milestone in our interoperability journey,” the ONC officials concluded.

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