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New Policies in Practice from Markle Connecting for Health Address Challenges in Health Information Sharing Implementation

  • Date: 
    April 30, 2012

    NEW YORK— Markle Connecting for Health today released a wide-ranging compendium of resources designed to further support the interoperable, private, and secure sharing of health information.

    The Markle Connecting for Health Common Framework Policies in Practice for Health Information Sharing—or Polices in Practice—address current critical implementation issues for electronic health information sharing, including informed individual consent, governance, individual access, and procurement. A diverse group of leaders with expertise in health information sharing, technology, privacy, and consumer engagement developed these Policies in Practice resources through a collaborative effort.

    Markle President Zoë Baird Budinger explains, “The Markle Connecting for Health collaborative produced these resources to address some of the key issues and concerns that we have heard expressed by those implementing health information sharing efforts at the local, state and regional levels. We hope this supplement to our 2006 Markle Common Framework helps guide such efforts to foster the secure and trusted sharing of health information.”

    Markle Connecting for Health is a public-private collaborative whose goal is to improve people’s health and advance the quality of health care in the United States through innovations in information technology.

    The Policies in Practice resources further specify the Markle Connecting for Health Common Framework for Private and Secure Health Information Exchange (Markle Common Framework), published in 2006. The Markle Common Framework offers a set of policy and technology guides based on Fair Information Practice Principles, which, when taken together, offer a comprehensive framework to support trusted health information sharing.

    Ted Kremer, Executive Director, Rochester RHIO, and committee member involved in the development process says, “The foundational aspects of the Markle Common Framework were instrumental to our regional health information exchange formation and continue to be valuable. However, we and others realized it would be helpful to build-on the Markle Common Framework and develop additional resources that apply directly to today’s environment. It was amazing to see the combined expertise that came together to address these issues and produce resources that are sure to be key to successful efforts going forward.”

    Today’s health IT environment has evolved significantly from the environment in which the Markle Common Framework was first issued. In addition to enactment of the HITECH Act, there is a greater level of federal leadership, new regulation, and investment in IT; and the use of health IT among providers is on the rise. A 2010 Markle Survey on Health in a Networked Life, comparing the core values of physicians and patients on deployment of IT in health care found that the majority of doctors prefer use of computers to paper and fax when sharing patient information with each other.1

    “The landscape for health information sharing is changing,” noted Laura Bailyn, Senior Director, Health Initiatives, Markle. “As health information sharing needs and capabilities continue to evolve, it is critical to incorporate new knowledge and lessons learned. The Policies in Practice build on the foundational elements of the Markle Common Framework to provide additional support for implementers working in the field to make electronic health information sharing a reality.”

    Bailyn emphasized that the Policies in Practice are not intended to replace the original Markle Common Framework, but to supplement it. Each Policies in Practice resource aims to further specify the Markle Common Framework by addressing a targeted implementation need. The Policies in Practice are not toolkits or stand-alone solutions. They should be considered together and used in context, complying with all federal and state laws and regulations, and in light of individualized operations and objectives.

    The Policies in Practice address the following areas: 

    • Key Laws and Regulations: Changes Relevant to the Markle Common Framework. Highlights modifications to relevant privacy laws over the last five years and addresses them in the targeted policy areas of the Markle Common Framework. 
    • Consent: Implementing the Individual Participation and Control Principle. Provides context for implementing the privacy principle of “Individual Participation and Control” and suggests ways for health information sharing efforts to establish their own policies and best practices. 
    • Individual Access: Connecting Patients to Their Health Information. Identifies and specifies opportunities for addressing individual access and engagement in relation to health information sharing. 
    • Governance of Health Information Sharing Efforts: Achieving Trust and Interoperability with Meaningful Consumer Participation. Identifies and specifies opportunities for addressing individual access and engagement in relation to health information sharing. 
    • Policy Aware Procurement Strategies and Practices: Asking the Right Questions and Reaching the Right Answers. Details important elements to apply in technology procurement efforts, so that required policies are part of the acquisition and implementation of technology.

    For more information, please join us for a live webcastNew Markle Resources for Implementing Health Information Sharing” on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm ET. Authors of the Policies in Practice and other experts will describe these resources, including how they can be applied in today’s environment, and will answer viewer questions.

    Contact Andrew Peters (301) 280-5728 or [email protected]

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    1. Markle Foundation. The Public and Doctors Overwhelmingly Agree on Health IT Priorities to Improve Patient Care. January 2011: http://www.markle.org/publications/1461-public-and-doctors-overwhelmingly-agree-health-it-priorities-improve-patient-care.