The annual Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Technology Forum is a two-day conference that includes participants from academics, IT managers/leaders and team members of Health Systems, payers and E.H.R. Companies like PhysicianXpress, Inc. Physician Xpres, Inc. participated in the 2020 ONC Technology Forum this year on August 10th – August 11th. The main focus of this conference is related to interoperability (FHIR and USCDI) and the use of APIs for connecting data.
Interoperability: Exchange of data and sharing of data is important for both patient care as well as for value based contracts and population health management. Currently, most organizations and E.H.R. vendors are sharing data via a CCDA document. Physician Xpress connects Pediatric Practices to Clinically Integrated Networks (CINs) via sending CCDA files to the Network as well as billing data. CINs use this information via a population Health Platform to evaluate data across different organizations within the CIN. Sending CCDA data from the E.H.R. to a CIN is a common approach for E.H.R. vendors that maintain a current certified EHR. The CCDA file contains data elements from the E.H.R. system including: patient demographic, vitals, medications, immunizations, procedures, encounters, treatment plan, referral, allergies, medications as well as other information. The complexity for E.H.R. vendors are being able to pull this information from their systems and sending this information to clinically integrated networks for various practices. The CCDA patient information is leveraged by Clinically integrated networks to perform population health analysis and review. While CCDAs had an initial standard, the current CCDA standard is part of the 2015 certification (final Certification for E.H.R vendors). This is another important reason as to why E.H.R. vendors so maintain the design of the their systems to the current certification standard. The functional elements in the CCDA is the ‘backbone’ of information utilized to integrate into a future interoperability standard known as FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). The ONC Tech forum sessions had content and discussions related to FHIR and the ONC US Core data for Interoperability (USCDI). FHIR and USCDI are the future for interoperability and builds on the current 2015 certification standards. Individuals from organizations participating in the tech forum from ONC discuss the experiences and plans for FHIR and USCDI. Based on the conference, it appears that most certified E.H.R. vendors are planning to have this platform available within the next two years. The Physician Xpress team is committed to maintaining and enhancing the certification requirements for the PediatricXpress system. To read more about FHIR, please visit http://hl7.org/fhir/us/core/
Application Programming Interface (API): The other major discussion area at the ONC technology forum related to the development of an API for the E.H.R. to provide a consistent and lower costs for third party applications to obtain select data from the E.H.R.. Providing a means for third party vendors and App developers to connect to an E.H.R. platform is an opportunity for patient healthcare applications as well as provider healthcare applications. There are some security and connectivity issues that were discussed at the ONC Technology forum that should be reviewed by E.H.R. organizations as well as provider groups over the next few years. As API connections to E.H.R. become easier and more common, the ability to exchange data via an API might change the traditional patient portal landscape and structure.
While there is one standard developed for API connections, the implementation of the standard will have some variation depending on the E.H.R organization and their client base. For instance, an E.H.R. vendor designed for a large hospital system with all Medical Specialties and both inpatient and outpatient locations will have more variables to consider than a specialty E.H.R. companies like PhysicianXpress (PediatricXpress is designed for Outpatient pediatrics). Some vendors and organizations in attendance have a specific focus area of interest such as Pharmacy or Surgery Centers. The common ground of the conference related to API is to learn the standards developed by the Office of the National Coordinator. The development of the API for data sharing should provide opportunities to enhance patient care over
While change and progress is good overall, there are organizations that are resisting the change and progress for various reasons. The Physician Xpress team is dedicated to continuous development, improvement of the PediatricXpress System to help Pediatric Practices become more profitable and easier to manage.