ONC Releases "Governance Framework for Trusted Electronic Health Information Exchange"

The recently released "Governance Framework for Trusted Electronic Health Information Exchange" by the  Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) provides guiding principles on health information exchange (HIE) governance. It is meant to provide a common conceptual foundation applicable to all types of governance models and expresses the principles ONC believes are most important for governance of state and local HIE networks across the U.S.   The framework was developed as an alternative to the abandoned pursuit by ONC of a more formal, centralized governance structure for the emerging Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

The Governance Framework does not prescribe specific solutions but lays out milestones and outcomes that ONC expects from HIE governance organizations as they collaborate and establish a range of interconnected, decentralized HIE networks across the country.   State and local entities establishing HIE policy should look to the Governance Framework’s four key principles as a way to align their work with national priorities and 'open' standards. They include:

  • Organizational Principles: Identify generally applicable approaches for good self-governance;
  • Trust Principles: Guide HIE governance entities on patient privacy, meaningful choice, and data management in HIE;
  • Business Principles: Focus on responsible financial and operational policies for governance entities, with emphasis on transparency and HIE with the patients best interests in mind;
  • Technical Principles: Express priorities for the use of standards in order to support the Trust and Business Principles as well as furthering the execution of interoperability.

According to the national coordinator, Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the ONC "decided not to continue with the formal rulemaking process and instead implement an approach that provides a means for defining and implementing nationwide trusted exchange with higher agility, and lower likelihood of regret." The framework is intended be a living document  and the ONC "will consider updating these principles over time to reflect policy changes, technological maturity, and market innovations, as necessary.”

For more detail, get your copy of the "Governance Framework for Trusted Electronic Health Information Exchange (HIE)". Also read collected articles on NHIN posted by OHNews.