FTC Staff Offers Guidance on Promoting Competition in Health Information Technology Interoperability to Enhance Health Care Delivery

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Federal Trade Commission staff submitted comments to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), offering guidance on promoting competition, and the privacy and security of consumer data, in ONC’s plan to increase the adoption of interoperable health information technology (health IT) systems by 2024.

The comment, submitted by staff of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning, Bureau of Economics, Bureau of Competition and Bureau of Consumer Protection, is in response to ONC’s request for comments on its draft Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. It encourages ONC to consider how the economic interests of health care providers and health IT vendors align with the benefits of interoperability, such as lower health care costs, improved population health, empowered consumers and ongoing innovation.

The staff comment also offers guidance on shared governance mechanisms and the development of technical standards, and highlights the importance of safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of consumers’ data.

To balance the benefits of standard setting, such as lower switching costs and reduced barriers to entry, with its potential risks, the staff comment encourages ONC “to consider taking steps to ensure that coordinated governance by market participants does not unduly distort competition.”

The Commission vote approving the comment was 5-0. (FTC File No. V150003; the staff contact is John E. Dubiansky, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2182.)

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674