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ASCO pledges to HHS to improve health information sharing between consumers and healthcare providers

Statement from Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

“ASCO is proud to stand with members of the health care community in committing to advance interoperability among health information (HIT) systems. The promise of electronic health records (EHRs) will never be realized until we are able to share data in a safe and secure way, and we applaud HHS for taking this crucial step forward. 

“Given our commitment in this area, we are pleased to uphold the three core principles outlined by HHS’ in achieving interoperability. The commitment to developing standards for sharing information, preventing information blocking and enabling consumers to easily access and share their information completely aligns with ASCO’s vision on this issue.

“Big data initiatives and future cancer care will depend on the ability to electronically share clinical information between practitioners. However, EHRs often contain data that cannot easily be shared among physicians or contribute to quality improvement, public health reporting or analytics.  

“ASCO is working to overcome these barriers in numerous areas: On the clinical front, we have developed and are continuing to develop interoperability standards and treatment plans for sharing of cancer information. ASCO also has outlined steps Congress should take to advance the widespread interoperability of EHRs and prevent information blocking. In addition, we are leading the development CancerLinQ™, a cutting-edge HIT platform that will enable us to learn from each of the millions of individual patients living with cancer nationwide by unlocking, assembling and analyzing de-identified patient records. 

“ASCO commends HHS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT for their leadership in developing these principles and garnering support for them. We look forward to working with the EHR companies, health care systems and medical associations in carrying out these commitments.