ONC: Does ONC’s Certification Program Affect Interoperability? New Evidence and Implications

“ONC is excited to share findings from newly published research that sheds light on the impact adoption of 2015 Edition certified health information technology (health IT) has had on hospitals’ rates of interoperability. In a recently published Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association article called Impact of the 2015 Health Information Technology Certification Edition on Interoperability among Hospitals, we examined how variation in the adoption of 2015 Edition certified health IT impacted key measures of interoperable exchange. Our findings — described in detail in the article and summarized below — show that the availability of data exchange capabilities in EHR systems significantly contributes to greater interoperability in addition to other factors such as user and business motivation.”

“The ONC Health IT Certification Program has become an important part of the health IT ecosystem focused on standards conformance to facilitate improved health data interoperability for patient care and patient access. Currently, nearly all hospitals and 80 percent of physicians have adopted electronic health records (EHRs) certified through the Program. Six years ago, ONC released the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria, which updated several key standards requirements, including the Applicability Statement for Secure Health Transport (i.e., Direct Protocol) and the Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) standards.”

Interoperability on the Rise

“Our research showed that nearly 40 percent of hospitals adopted the 2015 Edition certified health IT between 2016 and 2018, which increased interoperability engagement by 18 percent.”

“Hospitals that switched to different EHR developers had higher interoperability gains from adopting the 2015 Edition technology than those who did not. Between 2014 and 2018, hospitals’ rates of interoperability doubled from 23 percent to 46 percent and findings from the study indicate that the adoption of 2015 Edition certified health IT was responsible for 11 percent of that increase.”

“Despite fairly large effects of 2015 Edition certified health IT adoption, the study highlights that adoption can only go so far at expanding interoperable exchange across hospitals…” Read the full article here.

Source: Does ONC’s Certification Program Affect Interoperability? New Evidence and Implications – By Talisha Searcy, Yuriy Pylypchuk, Wes Barker and William Encinosa, July 20, 2021. ONC Health IT Buzz.

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