Training, Interoperability Key for Electronic Health Information Sharing

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Posted on October 12th, 2022 by Hannah Nelson

Many organizations reported that training across and within departments, as well as with patients, was a priority for electronic health information sharing.

In a recent ONC provider-focused workshop, participants noted training, technical capacity, and interoperability as the biggest challenges with electronic health information (EHI) sharing.

More than 200 people participated in the half-day workshop. Participants explored technical approaches and lessons learned related to sharing EHI consistent with 21st Century Cures Act information blocking regulations and other applicable laws.

The workshop also explored real-world industry examples of how organizations have implemented EHI sharing workflows for authorized users, including patients.

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Many organizations reported that training across and within departments, as well as with patients, was a priority for EHI sharing. Frequent provider-to-patient education helps patients understand their options to get and share their EHI.

Further, workshop participants said that greater education on EHI sharing options led to higher rates of patient engagement.

Additionally, participants noted the importance of having the technical capability and workflows to respond to differing patient preferences and differing needs around the sharing of EHI.

“Implementing patient preferences that specify what they want to get or share, with whom, and in what timeframe can be dependent on electronic workflows, and sometimes that means creating new ones,” Amanda Woodhead, an ONC official, noted in a HealthITBuzz blog post.

Organizations also pointed out that exchanging information with health IT systems and applications that are not ONC-certified is challenging. For instance, certain types of EHI, such as images, can be more difficult to share.

“There were also concerns around the privacy and security of third-party applications selected by patients rather than the provider, and whether patients fully understand how these direct-to-consumer apps will subsequently use their data,” Woodhead said.

Beginning on October 6, 2022, the definition of “information blocking” no longer limits its focus to the subgroup of EHI represented by data elements in the United States Core Data for Interoperability version 1 (USCDI v1).

ONC is hosting office hours with subject matter experts on October 27 for additional information on EHI sharing.