AMIA Supports ONC Pledge to Improve Interoperability

Monday, February 29, 2016

Informatics Experts Say Patient Access, Transparency and Standards Commitments a ‘Step in the Right Direction’

(LAS VEGAS, NV) — Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell unveiled a private sector commitments pledge at HIMSS16 Monday, which seeks to bolster interoperability in healthcare by enabling consumer access to their data, improving transparency and encouraging widespread adoption of national interoperability standards.  The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Board of Directors submitted a letter of support to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, joining dozens of private and non-profit organizations in their commitment to health IT interoperability.

“We share the administration’s belief that such commitments are foundational to the success of delivery system reform and will lead towards our common goal of a learning health system,” AMIA said in a letter of support signed by the AMIA Board of Directors.  “The specific actions listed in the Pledge align with the Report of the AMIA EHR 2020 Task Force on the Status and Future Direction of EHRs, and represent progress towards the kind of functionalities we believe are needed to achieve a learning health system.”

The Pledge included three commitments agreed to by AMIA and other signatories:

  1. To support consumer access, and the development of easy-to-adopt tools for consumers to electronically access and share their health information;
  2. To remove artificial barriers (such as costs or technical barriers) to interoperability by not blocking information; and
  3. To support the use of standards consistent with ONC’s Interoperability Standards Advisory.

In addition to the specific commitments outlined in the pledge, AMIA said the organization would:

  1. Commit to improving consumer access to their health data by working with federal officials to develop standards-based granular data specification(s) that support APIs and enable patients to have a full extract of their medical record, not just a summary, in a computable format;
  2. Commit to transparency by working with the federal government to improve the corpus of knowledge gained during the certification process; and
  3. Commit to working with standards development organizations, private sector stakeholders and the federal government to improve the quality and ubiquity of national health IT standards. 

“We believe the Pledge is an important step in the right direction,” said AMIA President & CEO Douglas B. Fridsma, MD, PhD.  “We fully support the federal government’s recent efforts to clarify patients’ rights under HIPAA to have access to their information in a form, format and manner of their choosing, at low to no cost.  We also support ONC’s Interoperability Standards Advisory to bring about a robust public dialogue around the kinds of standards that will enable us to achieve true interoperability.”

AMIA Board Chair Thomas H. Payne, MD, FACMI continued, “This pledge is consistent with the recommendations made by the AMIA EHR 2020 Task Force Report, and it will serve as a good foundation to make tangible progress towards more complete consumer access, improved transparency and better standards in health IT.”

Click here to read AMIA’s full letter of support.


AMIA, the leading professional association for informatics professionals, is the center of action for 5,000 informatics professionals from more than 65 countries. As the voice of the nation’s top biomedical and health informatics professionals, AMIA and its members play a leading role in assessing the effect of health innovations on health policy, and advancing the field of informatics. AMIA actively supports five domains in informatics: translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics.