The topic for this week, Movement on Interoperability, was deferred from last week's truncated call. It was generally a good thing, as I found several more encouraging items to add to the list of references indicating that, at long last, the topic and reality of interoperability is getting serious attention around the country. You can check out the presentation and the references, below, but the news is very encouraging. The ONC is doing everything it can to continue to push providers, both individual and organzations, to 'get connected' to ensure that their patients can access their medical information to view/download/transmit (v/d/t) it in convenient and timely fashion. One very key clarification from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) was that, if a patient requests (in writing) that their data be sent to them via a non-secure method (regular email, e.g.) the provider is obligated to use the method that the patient requests, despite the risk to privacy. This is in keeping with the ONC's desire to make access more convenient for patients and to be non-prescriptive about how any given requirement for meaningful use is met, as long as it doesn't violate others. The bottom line is that the flip side of empowering patients to become partners in their own healthcare is giving them some of the responsibility to manage their own privacy. The view of the OCR is that the medium is not significant; patients have a right to their own medical data and, once they have it, they can do anything they want with it.
On another topic, Jim Whitaker from DSS joined us this week and gave a brief update on what he's been doing in support of the New York VistA deployment. He has promised to give us and after action report on lessons learned when that massive project is completed. Stay tuned for exciting developments!