It seems the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS may at least take a peek at how it might apply electronic information technology to the problem of restoring patient consent over the flow of their healthcare records around and across its proposed nationwide health information exchange system.
And, the ONC is putting some money into the effort, but, it would seem, not a lot of time.
On April 19, HHS awarded a contract worth nearly $1.3 million to Lockheed Martin Services for work that will “allow ONC to gain in-depth understanding of how privacy consent directives may become a core part of future Meaningful Use (MU) requirements for trusted exchange of sensitive records,” according to a posting on the FedBizOps.gov website.
Also that day, on the same federal website, HHS' program support center solicited potential sources to help ONC learn how to conduct an "E-Consent Trial,” including, “Education, Collection, & Evaluation of Patient Choice in the Electronic Exchange of Health Information.”
In short, interested contractors were to tell HHS how they'd run a consent management pilot.
The pilot would measure not only technical capabilities for effecting electronic patient consent directives, but also measure capabilities to educate patients so that they'll be able to make informed choices of what they are consenting, or not consenting, to do.
The adviser would have to obtain a “letter of support” indicating its ability to partner with a clinical care site at which electronic health information is exchanged.
The contractor also would have to prove it had the experience and workforce available to do the job. The successful contractor would have to “demonstrate personnel's documented expertise and relevant knowledge regarding patient choice, electronic exchange of health information, consumer literacy, visual designs, evaluations/surveys as well as all other technical and administrative tasking areas.”
According to the ONC solicitation, there is a ton of other stuff a would-be consent contractor would have had to do before the 1 p.m. April 29 deadline.
Let's hope they got a head start.
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn.