The bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act charges HHS / ONC to deal with two issues that previous laws (HIPAA and HITECH) and the Obama HHS left in-progress: information blocking and longitudinal health records. ONC needs to deal with these two issues at a time when there are calls to delay or rescind some Meaningful Use regulations, in an administration that does not favor regulations, with some vendors already starting to ship Meaningful Use Stage 3 EHR products, and while the budget for ONC is still undetermined. ONC can’t be too careful.
Judging by the agenda, the July 24 21st Century Cures Act Trusted Exchange and Common Agreement (TFCA) Kick-Off Meeting is a step in the wrong direction. Listening to the “health IT stakeholders” is a prescription for advancing the interests of the health IT stakeholders instead of dealing with patients and physicians as the stakeholders. Framing the issue as “National Trust Frameworks and Network-to-Network Connectivity” is a recipe for continued ineffective interoperability as the “stakeholders” line up for another round of regulations that promote rent-seeking middlemen with catchy names like Direct Trust, and CommonWell.