Continuing federal efforts to promote health information exchange came under fire in the March 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association in "Putting Health IT on the Path to Success," an article co-authored by William A. Yasnoff, MD, president of the Health Record Banking Alliance. From 2002 to 2006, Yasnoff was HHS senior advisor on what was then known as the National Health Information Infrastructure.
In an email to HealthLeaders commenting on last week's ONC HIE grant announcements, Yasnoff said ONC's latest efforts are misguided.
"Governance of HIEs will continue to be problematic as long as patients do not control their own data," Yasnoff says. "Only patients through their consent can overcome the complex tangle of state and federal legal requirements about the use and transport of medical data."
Continuing efforts to accomplish this through "governance" without patient consent will never work, Yasnoff says. "We must give up our paradigm of trying to automate the current (and ineffective) process of contacting other providers to get missing records. This approach does not, and cannot, get us to a system that ensures the availability of comprehensive electronic patient information when and where needed—as ONC itself admitted in their 3/6/13 RFI."
ONC's March 6 request for information seeks public input about a variety of policies that will strengthen the business case for electronic exchange across providers to ensure that patients' health information will follow them seamlessly and securely wherever they access care. Public comments on the RFI are due April 21.