The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS has opened a public comment period on proposed rulemaking to implement a portion of last year's report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology calling for creation of a universal language for health information exchange capable of tagging data elements for improved clinical access, research and privacy and security protection.
HHS calls for comment on metadata tags
The comment period on the 32-page request runs through Sept. 23.
The ONC notice says the federal health IT adviser to HHS is specifically interested in public comments on recommendations by the Health IT Policy Committee and Health IT Standards Committee on the use of metadata tags for patient identity, the provenance of the data in the electronic health record, and for privacy protection.
“We also request public comments on any additional metadata categories, metadata elements or metadata syntax that should be considered,” the notice says. The immediate scope of the advance notice of proposed rulemaking “is the association of metadata with summary care records. More specifically, in the scenario where a patient obtains a summary care record from a healthcare provider's electronic health-record technology or requests for it to be transmitted to their personal health record.”
The ONC and its two adviser groups have been wrestling with the implications of the PCAST report since its release in December 2010 because the PCAST contemplates both an increased emphasis on health information exchange and a shift in the national exchange architecture. In January, Mitre Corp. completed a review of the ONC's policy directions on privacy protections in light of the PCAST report and found that the recommendations of a federal work group on privacy and security “could be read to be consistent with PCAST observations” but only if the ONC “pilots metadata tagging as an approach to implementing granular consent.”
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.