Health IT

DeSalvo makes business case for data sharing

Karen DeSalvo

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Karen DeSalvo

Actual data sharing in the health sector lags behind both the state of technology and the known wishes of patients to have greater access to their own information. Karen DeSalvo, national coordinator for health information technology, thinks a shift to improved patient data sharing and increased medical record interoperability depends on an appeal to the business benefits, and on the implementation of common standards.

"We have been hearing very clearly that there needs to be a better case for sharing data," from a business perspective, said DeSalvo, at the Office of the National Coordinator Annual Meeting  in Washington, D.C. "We've spent very much of this effort on creating a payment case in the health care environment."

In January, as part of a public-private sector partnership campaign, ONC asked health care companies that use electronic health records to pledge their commitment to greater consumer access to medical records, to implement national standards and not to block data.

To continue the push for increased market transparency, DeSalvo announced that ONC would post a detailed listing of "plain language information" aimed at providers trying to make health IT purchases. The data is drawn from required disclosures about user costs and data limitations that health IT developers must submit as condition of their ONC certification.

"This is a way to make sure folks know what they're purchasing, know what they're not, and create a better platform for a transparent marketplace," said DeSalvo.

DeSalvo also emphasized that national standards for terms would reduce confusion by ensuring that clinicians everywhere are using the same language and are on the same page in terms of privacy and security expectations.

"We want to move to a place where we're working off the same language, so that there's not the added work and expense and sometimes frustration of not having federal recognized national standards… that can advance the field," she said.

Part of increased transparency entails moving away from byzantine language for regulations that distracts from serving consumers and "can be confusing, especially for smaller practices," DeSalvo said.

She said the ONC's modernization efforts and the ONC's push for a culture change towards data sharing rely on the public sector's working relationships with private entities.

"We cannot, will not and should not do this alone," DeSalvo said. "This requires strong, continued partnership from those who are already invested, requires making the tent big enough for consumers, now for more investigators and researchers who want to be a part of this new journey, as well as entrepreneurs."

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.