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ONC Issues Health IT Developer Resource List for Interoperability Rule

The ONC issued three valuable resources for health IT developers to comply with the upcoming compliance dates for the interoperability rule.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) developed an updated list of resources to help health IT developers comply with the interoperability rule as a part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which primarily focuses on data exchange and patient information blocking.

ONC’s resource list comprised of a list of key dates, a summary of changes to the 2015 Edition Certification Criteria, and an application programming interfaces (API) resource guide.

The 2015 Edition Cures Update Key Dates compiled all of the key dates to aid health IT developers and professionals understand the specific requirements to meet compliance. While there are a number of compliance dates, the first resource laid out specific details of each date with additional links to further information.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and ONC allowed health organizations further flexibility and time to appropriately respond to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by extending the compliance deadlines for the ONC Final Interoperability Rule.

The information blocking provisions and requirements compliance date, along with the API conditions and maintenance of certification are now scheduled for April 5, 2021.

The real-world testing condition and maintenance certification initial plans are go-live on December 15, 2021.

The 2015 edition health IT certification criteria updates and the new standardized API functionality dates are now required by December 31, 2022.

The Cert Notes: 2015 Edition Cures Update Reference document summarized the changes made to the 2015 Edition Certification Criteria requirements as outlined in the ONC Cures Act Final Rule, which includes Information Blocking, Interoperability, and the Interim Final Rule (IFR), Information Blocking and the ONC Health IT Certification Program: Extension of Compliance Dates and Timeframes in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

The document gave a revised view of linked references, revisions to criterion, deadlines, actions to be taken, and additional dependencies for the 2015 Edition Cures Update. Health IT developers can utilize this resource to understand specific sets of guidelines and criteria to earn 2015 Edition Cures Update certification for their respective health IT sectors.

While ONC developed this reference to provide a detailed overview of the recent changes, ONC said it should not be used as a comprehensive reference document. Not all health IT modules are certified to all criteria in the document.

The API Resource Guide aims to help health IT developers meet ONC accreditation through API certification criteria or compliance through API Conditions or Maintenance of Certification requirements.

According to a November ONC report, stakeholders reported consumers have limited knowledge of available APIs and mobile applications that enable patients to coordinate their care through a third-party app.

As a result, ONC facilitated a discussion with health IT stakeholders about their respective costumers’ experiences and the future of patient-facing APIs and applications.

Standardized methods to increase exchange through separate health IT systems and mobile apps are essential to boost patient care while also improving scientific discovery through EHRs.

This resource guide included ONC clarifications from the ONC Cures Act Final Rule preamble, Certification Companion Guides, and supplementary educational resources. It intends to help health IT developers meet the API requirements of the ONC Certification Program.

“As you can see, ONC has available a variety of resources to help health IT developers comply with the ONC Cures Act Final Rule,” concluded ONC. “We hope the health IT developer community finds these useful as important compliance dates approach.”

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