Health Law Alert: Metadata Standards for EHRs: A Sneak Preview of Meaningful Use Stage 2?

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The Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has announced that it is seeking comments on metadata standards related to patient access to summary care records from their health care providers. In short, metadata is the background data about data. The implementation of metadata standards would mean that background data from electronic health records could be used to create a summary about patient electronic records, which patients could access through exchanges. This is the first step in easy and safe patient access to health information, a goal of HITECH alongside exchange of information between health care providers and reporting to government agencies. Comments are due by September 23, 2011.

This standard comes in reactions to a report entitled Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward [PDF] released December 2010 from President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), a White House advisory group comprised of scientist and engineers. After extensive public vetting and harmonization of PCAST’s recommendations, ONC agreed that the best place to start would be to enable patients to more easily access, sort and share their own health information.

ONC believes that metadata may promote these large goals in three key areas out for public comment...

Please see full alert below for more information.

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