HHS, ONC goals converge around same time — they hope


If all goes according to plan, federal health officials say, most providers should be able to electronically send, receive, find and use common clinical information by the end of 2017 — a task that’s spotty at best these days.

About that same time, in the best of White House scenarios, federal scientists and their partners will be well on their way to sequencing 1 million genomes to generate new clues and cures for disease. Medicare, by that time, should have about 90 percent of its payments tied to quality or value by then — with nearly half of its fee-for-service payments tied to alternative models like accountable care organizations.

All those goals — the first two announced Friday and the last on Monday — are integral to the others’ success.

… The roadmap’s lack of detail in how those standards will get set isn’t too troubling to Joe Smith, chief science and medical officer at West Health.

“When Kennedy proposed the moon shoot, he didn’t tell the engineers how to build the rockets,” Smith said. “He said this is where we’re going. This also leaves to the experts the notion of solving some of these issues.”

Smith called ONC’s timeframe — with the first goals to be hit by the end of 2017 — “appropriately aggressive.” Others said it was a little ambitious.

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