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Tripathi: Interoperability Resources for Cures Act Compliance Coming

ONC will expand its interoperability resources to support healthcare stakeholder compliance with provisions of the Cures Act Final Rule.

ONC is launching additional interoperability resources that aim to support healthcare stakeholder compliance with the Cures Act Final Rule, according to a HealthITBuzz blog post written by the agency’s lead, Micky Tripathi.

Since the final rule went into effect on April 5, 2021, ONC has seen a significant uptick in the volume and complexity of questions related to the new regulations, Tripathi noted.

“To adjust to the growing need for information, and to respond to feedback that we could be more forthcoming and clearer in our responses to questions, we are launching a number of additional channels for education and communication,” he wrote.

First, Tripathi said that the agency will put out more frequent FAQs to address specific questions and practical considerations for implementing the provisions of the final rule.

Next, he said ONC will leverage social media to dispel inaccurate information regarding the final rule with “Myths vs. Facts” posts. Tripathi said that these posts will help direct stakeholders to authoritative resources in a timely manner.

Additionally, Tripathi noted that ONC will expand upon its FAQ content through blog posts on key interoperability subjects that use plainer language. He said that these posts will reflect and amplify the content of ONC FAQs in a more narrative style for non-legal, non-technical audiences.

ONC will put out regular leadership blogs from executive leaders on progress of the regulation’s implementation, Tripathi said.

These blogs will also highlight the opportunities “unlocked by Cures Act policies and API platform technologies and business models,” he added.

Finally, Tripathi said that the agency will boost active outreach for participation in public events and stakeholder meetings by ONC leadership to directly engage with market questions and concerns.

“We’re eager to help the industry successfully implement these new requirements and, even more important, to reap the many benefits it offers for patients, providers, health insurers, developers, and the possibilities it opens up for public health, population health, research – really, for the entire health care ecosystem,” he wrote.

At WEDI’s “Ready, Set, Comply! Meeting the Information Blocking Challenge” in April, Tripathi said his job as ONC leader is to help the healthcare industry move beyond initial questions, such as defining the information blocking law or setting up a compliance framework.

He wants to assist stakeholders in focusing on specific strategic opportunities and how those opportunities might change the way a healthcare organization is doing business and present real opportunities for greater value from both a clinical and financial perspective in the future.

Looking forward, the 2015 edition health IT certification criteria updates and the new standardized application programming interface (API) functionality dates are required by December 31, 2022.

Patients will gain access to their health information and can shop for and coordinate their healthcare using their respective smartphones.

“We're doing everything we can to try to evangelize and encourage the industry to implement in advance of that date,” Tripathi said. “That's already happening, which is great.”

However, a significant challenge of having a very fragmented healthcare industry is some vendors will get ahead and take on the challenge, while some will fall behind, the ONC leader explained.

“That's always the challenge for developing interoperability and developing an app-based world where you'd ideally like to be able to have solutions that migrate across or be implemented across systems without having to do too much system customization,” Tripathi said.

“Without the floor of regulation in a fragmented healthcare industry, you're always going to have a lot of variation around what's the floor mat. We recognize that's the important role that regulation plays in health care.”

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