October 18, 2010

Oops: EHR Final Rule Gaffe

If you downloaded the EHR vendor guides from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), you'll want to download the fixes. The original releases did not include technical descriptions to enable electronic health records to exchange symptom surveillance data. They were “adopted in error” in the final rule for the initial standard for electronic health records, says ONC. As a result of numerous complaints since the flawed rule's release in July, an interim final rule "fix" has now been published in the October 13 Federal Register, to take effect November 12.

What's the flap all about? The rule didn't cover enabling EHR users to “electronically record, modify, retrieve and submit syndrome-based public health surveillance information,” according to language in the interim final rule, stating that the "purpose is to facilitate the electronic exchange of de-identified nationally notifiable conditions." The spec gave public health agencies methodology for reporting conditions, but no guidance on designing EHRs that could meet the standard.

If you liked the final rule, you're gonna love the sequel! Get the interim final rule here.

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