State laws governing privacy are barriers to effective health information sharing, National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, testified during a joint hearing before the U.S. House's subcommittee on Information Technology and subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules.
The hearing focused on progress in the nation's use of health IT.
DeSalvo said ONC and the National Governor's Association have been working on a toolkit to help states harmonize privacy regulations, but there "may be some areas where we need some additional support."
Another ongoing issue is the need for providers to be willing to share information, DeSalvo said.
"That's a particular challenge in the national capital region since we have three jurisdictions, three different political cultures, sets of laws … and we're not always talking," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) "What could go wrong with that?"
Attendees also discussed the barriers patients face in accessing their medical records and the fact that many health apps and websites don't fall under HIPAA. Legislators agreed that further clarity on HIPAA regarding when the law apples and how it contributes to information blocking is needed.