Dr. Tripathi on Health IT Regulations and Standards to Improve Interoperability – 2/22 C4BH Meeting

On February 22, the coalition was joined by Dr. Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health IT at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Tripathi highlighted both the context in which we arrived at this transformative time in health data exchange, and also shared some of the opportunities ahead for all of us involved in advancing patient outcomes through the use of technology. Dr. Tripathi’s C4BH presentation came on the same day that he co-published a Health Affairs article with California Health and Human Services Undersecretary Marko Mijic on the exchange of health and human services data at both the California level and federal level.

Establishment of Health IT Regulations

To start, Dr. Tripathi recapped the historical regulations and policies that brought us to this moment. These measures have not only ensured the efficient exchange of health data, but also have played a significant role in enhancing patient care and safety to date. 

In 2009, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) set a landmark statute requiring hospitals and providers to use certified health information technology systems. This step was pivotal in standardizing the use of technology in health care settings and ensuring the quality and security of health data.

Fast forward to 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act granted ONC the authority to establish minimum data standards. This act also mandated electronic health record (EHR) systems to support U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) data elements. These standards aimto streamline data exchange between different health care entities, fostering interoperability and improving patient outcomes.

FHIR API Availability, AI Ethics and Standards Support Interoperability Best Practices

In the ever-evolving realm of health care, the implementation of effective health information technology (HIT) regulations and standards is crucial. Dr.Tripathi also pointed out the value of interoperability to help influence and encourage health information sharing while also adhering to these key standards, including the importance and availability of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) API in EHR systems. FHIR is a next-generation interoperability standard designed to enable health data, including clinical and administrative data, to be quickly and efficiently exchanged. Dr.Tripathi highlighted the importance of providers, rather than vendors, controlling access to these APIs to ensure that health data remains secure and accessible only to authorized entities.

The discussion additionally explored the responsible use of health information technology, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) regulations. With AI becoming a greater focus in health care, Dr.Tripathi identified that AI-enabled tools that focus on transparency and complement existing FDA regulations will be key to their successful use and application.

The evolution of health information exchange (HIE) was also discussed, with Dr.Tripathi calling for a more organic, market-driven approach to forming networks. He believes this approach, as opposed to relying on geographic boundaries, helps to create a more seamless and efficient health care data exchange system. 

Looking Towards the Future

The coalition discussed with Dr.Tripathi the ways in which the Data Exchange Framework (DxF) complements and builds upon the federal standards led by ONC. As the health care landscape continues to evolve, seamless data exchange and automation will have a significant role to play in advancing health outcomes and the integration of health and social service information for whole person care.  

By embracing technological advancements and fostering collaboration—including collaboration between states and federal agencies—the health care industry can strive towards a more interoperable, efficient, and patient-centric system.


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