Given the amount of grants the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) doles out to health care organizations for health IT implementation, the idea of monitoring the effectiveness of those grants would seemingly be a wise initiative.
That’s why ONC announced it’s creating a national database to check the progress of regional extension centers (RECs) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, both formed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The online dashboard will contain data sets that show how grantees are doing with the money they have received and to gauge how RECs are performing compared to one another. Additionally, ONC looks to assess how physician health IT implementation is progressing based on support from RECs.
According to a notice published in last Thursday’s Federal Register, ONC will also make de-identified data — such as health IT adoption rates at the state and national level — available to the public. Public comments on the new program can occur for 30 days. In accordance with the Privacy Act, federal agencies are required to supply a notice when creating a new records system. In addition, physician information in the dashboard will be aggregated.
Patient information will not be disclosed in the dashboard. ONC guaranteed that in a statement: “ONC partners and ONC grantees will only have access to data specifically pertaining to the achievement of that entity’s grant or contract purpose.”
Although ONC’s dashboard will focus on specific health IT implementation progress, it falls under The IT Dashboard umbrella, which displays data received from federal agencies’ reports to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Department of Health and Human Services is one among 7,000 federal IT agencies included in the IT Dashboard.