ONC taps Accenture for interoperability help

By Bernie Monegain
08:05 AM

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has awarded Accenture  a two-year contract to help identify the standards and specifications that facilitate the exchange of data across the evolving healthcare system.

Under the contract, Accenture will work with ONC to develop and manage "use cases" that ONC will use to help determine the standards and IT systems necessary for peak operation. In cooperation with ONC and other healthcare stakeholders, Accenture will help identify real-world needs, prioritize them through a governance process and create explicit documentation of the use cases. Accenture will provide information for development of computer system requirements and technical specifications that enable interoperability.

"Standards that all stakeholders in the connected health environment can adopt are essential to achieving the goals of the HITECH legislation and will help drive down costs and increase the quality of and access to healthcare," said Rick Ratliff, global managing director, Accenture's Connected Health IT Solutions. "Those standards will pave the way for fully integrated, patient-centric healthcare that focuses on prevention and wellness."

The use cases will focus on patient-related information, such as ensuring that care providers' certified electronic medical records systems can handle patient requests for clinical summaries. Accenture also will create a comprehensive, sustainable process for ONC's standards and interoperability framework, as well as use-cases as part of the framework.

ONC's framework will establish a set of tools, processes and reusable components that enable the refinement and increased adoption of interoperability standards. Interoperability is critical to the expansion of the secure, electronic movement and use of health information across healthcare networks. The framework also supports future standards for regional health information organizations, statewide health information exchanges and the Nationwide Health Information Network.