Posted in Standards

Consumer tech group signs ONC interoperability pledge

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Consumer tech group signs ONC interoperability pledge

Healthcare is becoming increasingly reliant on connected devices to collect and transmit valuable patient clinical data. Key to the success of connected care, however, are standards that ensure patients’ personal and health information is accessible while protecting their privacy.
To that end, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) this week signed the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) interoperability pledge.
Launched at HIMSS16 early last year, ONC’s interoperability pledge seeks core commitments from signees in three areas:

  • Consumer Access: To help consumers easily and securely access their electronic health information, direct it to any desired location, learn how their information can be shared and used, and be assured that this information will be effectively and safely used to benefit their health and that of their community.
  • No Blocking/Ensuring Transparency: To help providers share individuals’ health information for care with other providers and their patients whenever permitted by law, and not block electronic health information (defined as knowingly and unreasonably interfering with information sharing).
  • Standards: To implement federally recognized, national interoperability standards, policies, guidance, and practices for electronic health information, and adopt best practices including those related to privacy and security.

Among those that previously signed ONC's interoperability pledge are the nation’s five largest health systems, major electronic health records (EHR) vendors such as Epic and Cerner, and a number of medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, and Premier healthcare alliance. CTA is the first consumer-oriented organization to sign the pledge.
"CTA and the members of the our Health and Fitness Technology Division Board believe that we all have the responsibility to take action to achieve open, connected care for our communities," Kinsey Fabrizio, CTA’s senior director of member engagement, said in a statement. "CTA's pledge demonstrates the increasingly intertwined relationship between consumer tech and healthcare and our commitment to work across the connected care ecosystem to follow best practices."
At least one previous signee was considerably less sanguine about the pledge's impact.
“If forcing companies explicitly on record creates some kind of measurable new momentum in our industry, then hey, we are all for it," Stephanie Zaremba, athenahealth's director of government and regulatory affairs, wrote in a March 2016 blog post. "Our fear, though, based on plenty of recent historical precedent, is that key actors in our industry will use the pledge not as an impetus to progress, but as a substitute for it.”