AAFP Calls For A Less Burdensome ONC Interoperability Plan

Kyle Murphy | EHR Intelligence | January 20, 2015

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is seeking to reduce regulatory burdens on providers in response to a request for commentary on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015–2020 recently published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).  “As the AAFP considers its strategic plan for the next ten years for health IT, we believe that interoperability remains a key capability for our specialty,” writes by AAFP Board Chair Reid B. Blackwelder, MD, FAAFP. “Usability of health IT is also top of mind for our members.”  The goals of the ONC plan fall into three categories — collect, share, and use — all with the purpose of enabling convenient access to health information through the use of interoperable health information technology.

In a letter to National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, the academy is voicing doubts about the goals attached to each of these categories.  “The ‘use’ goals articulated in the strategic plan seem to be better suited for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) than for ONC,” Blackwelder maintains. “It would be important for the HHS strategic plan to mirror these goals, especially given the need to align financial incentives around appropriate care delivery.”

As for the remaining categories, Blackwelder contends that they are holdovers from previous administrations and their continued presence is a sign that previous attempts at addressing them have failed.  “In reviewing the goals for ‘collect’ and ‘share,’ although they are appropriate goals and objectives, we believe they are indistinguishable from the goals and objectives of the prior decade,” he continues. “We are concerned that work has not been done to determine why these goals have not been achieved during the past ten or more years and how the tactics and activities of the next ten years will be different.”...