Both grants, called Exemplar HIE Governance Program Cooperative Agreements, were for one year. The New York collaborative already has received more than $22.3 million from ONC under a program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to promote statewide health information exchanges.
The ONC will continue to work with both organizations, Claudia Williams, director of the ONC's state health information exchange program, said at a news conference today to announce the grant awards.
The agreements “are collaborative,” Williams said. “Both sides come to the table and set the scope and the goals,” which at the start include encouraging the continued development and adoption of policies, interoperability requirements and business practices to facilitate health information exchange.
Dr. David Kibbe, president and CEO of DirectTrust, said the goal of his organization was to help simplify for healthcare providers the use of the federally developed Direct protocol for encrypted, peer-to-peer clinical messaging. To do that, DirectTrust has established a testing and certification procedure for participants in health information exchange infrastructure, such as health Internet service providers and regional health information exchanges.
David Whitlinger, the executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative, has been working since 2011 with various organizations, including state health information exchanges, to promote the use of Direct and a more elaborate form of exchange, query and response, which he likened to “the Google search of patient records.”
Whitlinger said ONC has asked the workgroup to join with its participating vendors, providers and exchanges to work out the complexities of computerized provider directories to ensure that healthcare messages go to the correct provider.
Last September, the ONC announced it was putting on hold plans to address governance of health information exchanges through formal federal rule-making, opting instead for a collaborative approach with the private sector.
Williams said the agreements with two organizations “already driving governance” across “multiple participants” is a “benchmark part of that strategy.”