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ONC Chief Addressed the Need of Data Standardization

The COVID-19 outbreak reflected upon the true nature of the public healthcare system indicating it to be isolated, and thus the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is reaching out to other government agencies in order to integrate it with the pre-existing data-sharing ecosystem. As stated by Dr. Micky Tripathi, head of the agency, data standardization will play a crucial role aiding this integration.

Amidst a virtual Health Affairs Policy Spotlight event conducted on Thursday, the previous week, ONC head Dr. Micky Tripathi addressed the agencies plans to work synergistically with the centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to bifurcate the data repository that exists among multiple clinical, administrative systems, and public health systems. With the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, the state, and local public health entities faced challenges regarding information sharing with both CDC as well as among each other across jurisdictions, according to Tripathi.

Throughout the pandemic, public health agencies were in a loop of receiving case reports from hospitals along with series of segregated feed of electronic lab results, explained Tripathi. He also said that the major challenge was proposed with insufficient demographic information with the lack of a nationwide patient identifier to guarantee the accuracy of the data.

As a contingency plan to overcome such as scenario, and enhance data standardization coupled with patient matching, the ONC has combined its efforts with the CDC in order to expand the United States Core Data for Interoperability also known as USCI to directly employ to public health entities.

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