The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a new rule that aims to increase patient engagement and healthcare interoperability.

The proposed Health Data, Technology, and Interoperability: Patient Engagement, Information Sharing, and Public Health Interoperability (HTI-2) rule is now open for public comment.

Issued through the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HTI-2 introduces two sets of certification criteria, with one set supporting health IT for public health and the other for payers.

These criteria are designed to improve public health responses and promote value-based care, with a focus on standards-based application programming interfaces for seamless data exchange.

The health IT for public health criteria support CDC’s Data Modernisation Initiative.

They were developed in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in coordination with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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The proposed rule also suggests updates to technology and standards, building on the previous HTI-1 final rule that was published in January this year.

These updates range from capability to exchange clinical images to the addition of multi-factor authentication support.

Included in the HTI-2 rule are the adoption of the US Core Data for Interoperability version four and the implementation of a new real-time prescription benefit tool certification criterion.

The rule also proposes to establish Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) governance rules, which would meet the requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act.

It will shortly be published in Federal Register, initiating a 60-day public comment period.

HHS secretary Xavier Becerra said: “The Biden-Harris Administration has been working to expand interoperability and improve transparency when it comes to electronic health information.

“Now we are building on that work to ensure that entire system that supports patients and providers utilises best technology available in a safe and responsible way.”