While no federal regulations for a nationwide health information network
are forthcoming, HHS' health information technology office announced that is offering financial awards to groups already working to develop health information exchange "rules of the road."
Instead of federal rule-making, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology "is establishing a robust framework of leadership, guidance, engagement, listening and learning and monitoring," according to a funding opportunities announcement
. "We will identify and shine light on good practices that support robust, secure and interoperable exchange."
The awards will range from $200,000 to $400,000, and applications are due by Feb. 4, according to the announcement.
In a blog post
, National Coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari wrote that his office's goals for HIE governance are to "increase interoperability, decrease the cost and complexity of exchange and increase trust among participants to mobilize trusted exchange to support patient care."
The awards, Mostashari wrote, "will allow ONC to work collaboratively with entities already involved in governance of health information exchange to encourage the continued development and adoption of policies, interoperability requirements and business practices that will increase the ease of electronic health information exchange, reduce implementation costs, and assure the privacy and security of data being exchanged."
"The overarching goal for ONC remains that the information follow the patient where and when it is needed, across organizational, vendor and geographic boundaries," Mostashari wrote.