Dr. Don Rucker: 3 questions guide ONC's take on 21st Century Cures Act

National Coordinator for Health IT Don Rucker, MD, laid out three of the ONC's top priorities related to the 21st Century Cures Act during a speech at Allscripts Client Experience, the company's annual user conference, in Chicago Aug. 9.

Here are the three questions Dr. Rucker said guides ONC's work as it implements the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan legislation former President Barack Obama signed into law in December 2016.

1. Can patients access — and control — their medical records?

"Can we, as individual consumers, get our electronic medical record from a provider on our smartphone? Can we point a URL, just the way we do today with any number of apps, at a provider and get our data and control it ourselves? That allows us to know what care we've gotten, to share it with family members, to shop for better, cheaper, friendlier providers — however we want to do it?" he said.

2. Can large payers analyze the value of different providers?

"Can we build interfaces that allow large payers to analyze the care they're getting? This is essentially the exact same use case as, 'Can we do population health? Can we get enough data to really look at populations and take better care of ourselves, and maybe prevent a lot of these illnesses that now we are treating far downstream?" he said.

3. How do we define an open application programming interface?

"That's a very complex thing, and that actually has two components to it," he said. "What does that open API look like at the vendor level? … What does it look like at a provider level? If somebody comes and points an app at your URL, say, or downloads that information via a portal log-on, what does that look like? We're hard at work at defining those."

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