ONC Releases Metadata Standards Notice

Seeking Comment on Use in Summary Care Records
ONC Releases Metadata Standards Notice
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, seeking public comment on metadata standards to support nationwide electronic health information exchange.

Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., 45 days from today [Sept. 23], the release says.

After the 45-day period, ONC will then consider the comments before deciding whether to require the use of metadata in certain circumstances for stage two of the HITECH Act EHR incentive program.

"The immediate scope of this ANPRM is the association of metadata with summary care records," the release says. "More specifically, in the scenario where a patient obtains a summary care record from a health care provider's electronic health record technology or requests for it to be transmitted to their personal health record."

Metadata standards for electronic health information exchange would include three criteria: patient identity [name, data of birth, address, zip code and patient identifier, provenance [the source of the data] and privacy preferences. A patient identifier could be the last four digits of a social security number.

"There's broad recognition that it would be useful in a variety of implementations, including within an organization, to have data [elements] that can be tagged [with metadata]," said Farzad Mostashari, who heads ONC, at the Health IT Standards Committee meeting on June 22 [See: ONC Wants Feedback on MetaData Use].

Taking a go-slow approach to tagging data elements within EHRs fits in well with the ONC's general philosophy of "keeping an eye on the prize but feet on the ground," Mostashari said. "Let's find a place to get started."

About the Author

Jeffrey Roman

Jeffrey Roman

News Writer, ISMG

Roman is the former News Writer for Information Security Media Group. Having worked for multiple publications at The College of New Jersey, including the College's newspaper "The Signal" and alumni magazine, Roman has experience in journalism, copy editing and communications.

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