"What we heard was, 'Listen guys, there is a lot happening, there is a lot of good information exchange that's occurring today—perhaps more than is widely appreciated,'" Mostashari said.
"And what we heard was that these activities are quite diverse in their architecture and in their business models, and one concern that we heard across almost every response was that regulation at this time may actually slow the development of trusted exchange, if it is implemented prematurely," he said.
"Our goal is to increase information exchange, not to hobble it or hinder it in any way, and it was something that we have to listen to carefully." Mostashari said. "So, the concern was, really, that as we're accelerating the implementation and expectations for standards-based exchange in Stage 2 that we could ill afford a pause while a regulatory process takes its course. And, as a result, we've decided that now is not the time, probably, to pursue a regulatory approach that follows what we laid out in the RFI."
Mostashari said the ONC will continue to provide guidance on best practices and to monitor what's going on.
Mostashari told policy committee members, however, that the decision to pause doesn't mean ONC will never move to regulate the NwHIN.
“If there are systemic issues, problems, market breakdowns that are actual, proven, systemic problems, let me assure you our proclivity, our tendency, our instincts are towards action,” he said. “If it ever turns out that if it makes sense to go back to a regulatory approach, whether it was outlined in the RFI or a modification of it, you're going to be the first to hear, because we're going to come back to the policy committee; we're going to review what we've learned, what are we seeing; and we're going to take it up again."