2022 Report to Congress: Update on the Access, Exchange, and Use of Electronic Health Information

Hundreds of thousands of physician offices, hospitals, and health systems across the US have transitioned from paper-based medical records to health IT that is certified under the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Health IT Certification Program. This report highlights the impact that the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) and its implementation contributed to continued progress toward interoperable access, exchange, and use of electronic health information (EHI). Recent updates from HHS and ONC demonstrate the impact that Cures Act implementation has had on our nation’s health IT infrastructure. The report also highlights progress toward implementing the 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, developed with input from over 25 federal agencies. The report describes the federal government and private sector progress toward building a nationwide infrastructure for the access, exchange, and use of EHI and identifies barriers to such a nationwide infrastructure. Six recommendations to overcome such barriers are as follows: 

  • Support “health equity by design” to include equitable access to information and communications technology, and improve health outcomes by building equity into the design of health IT;
  • Coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other HHS agencies so that federal and state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) public health data systems are modernized using health IT standards that enable the collection, access, exchange, use, and reporting of public health data to prevent and mitigate public health threats;
  • Promote the appropriate sharing of information by educating patients and the care community about information-blocking policies and regulations, track information-blocking complaints, and coordinate with the coordinating of Inspector General (OIG) and other HHS components on information blocking enforcement;
  • Implement TEFCA to create a nationwide policy and technical infrastructure approach to better enable information sharing across health information networks;
  • Advance standards to support health information sharing across all care settings, including APIs and the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI), via certified health IT systems;
  • Coordinate with federal agencies to ensure ONC-adopted standards support EHI access, exchange, and use across federal programs and health IT systems.

2022 Report to Congress: Update on the Access, Exchange, and Use of Electronic Health Information A Turning Point in Electronic Health Information Progress