Last week the ONC privacy and security tiger team for the healthcare IT committee provided guidance on patient consent policy. These guidelines are important because the recommendations apply to electronic exchange of patient identifiable health information among known entities to meet Stage I of meaningful use — the requirements by which health care providers and hospitals will be eligible for financial incentives for using health information technology. This includes the exchange of information for treatment and care coordination, certain quality reporting to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and certain public health reporting.
The requirements for supporting meaningful use of stage 1 data exchange consist of both core set and menu set transactions as outlined below:
1. Provide patients an electronic copy of their ambulatory, ED or inpatient summary of care record.
2. Transmit prescriptions.
3. Exchange clinical information among care providers and patient authorized entities.
4. Report clinical quality measures.
5. Incorporate clinical lab tests results into EHRs as structured data.
6. Provide summary of care record for patients referred or transition to another provider or setting.
7. Capability to submit data to immunization registries, provide surveillance and lab data to public health agencies.
Hopefully these national guidelines will reduce duplication of work that has been occurring at the state and regional level and accelerate the meaningful use of HIT and most significantly ensure that patient privacy is protected.