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ONC shares the criticality of a whole person view – and making it happen 

Healthier community

The conversations from the thought leaders at the ONC Annual Meeting last week in DC were invaluable as we plan our priority initiatives for 2024. There was lots of talk of FHIR, TEFCA, and all our other favorite acronyms, but what stood out was how quickly both Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Micky Tripathi honed in on what’s next for 2024 and what new interoperability needs should be considered.

Tips for success for 2024 from the ONC 2023 Annual Meeting 

In Palm’s and Tripathi’s opening keynotes, they spoke about the need to link information between the human services area and healthcare to see and treat the whole person. It is really not surprising since they both work for the Secretary of  Health & Human Services, but often times those two sides of the coin don’t talk to each other, let alone share data with each other. Both leaders called for that to change. 

Palm called out the new role that ONC has “to look at and work on interoperability in the human services space, in addition to the interoperability work they are doing in the healthcare sector. …we all learned the social determinants and the human services sector cannot be separated from the health care sector. …food insecurity, housing insecurity, the need for other supports and services really can’t be separated from healthcare and how we bring [human services] system and its ability to talk to the health care system is a really critical piece of work that HHS should be doing.” (Palm, 2023) 

Tripathi added “I wanted to call out one other thing… in the [Department’s] data strategy, which is specifically about enabling whole person care delivery by connecting human service data with health care data. We at ONC have focused for many years on the clinical side, on the health side, of the Department of Health and Human services, and as we move forward, all of us know the importance of bringing together health and human services — It’s in social determinants of health, all the social service work, and every Medicaid program is thinking really hard about this. All of us know, that whole person construct is incredibly important to be able to service a person’s real health needs, not use the needs they have when they get sick and show up at a doctor, or … they show up at a hospital in the ICU or Emergency Department. That has been [ONC’s] focus, but I think we all agree, that is not health, health is the entire picture, and health is about those who participate in our human services programs administered by the Secretary.” (Tripathi, 2023) 

The proverbial writing is on the wall, the directive from the top is very clear, we need to break down those barriers and silos, start sharing data between all parts of the health and human services ecosystem to see and treat the whole person. Each part of the ecosystem has valuable data. From public health, to Medicaid, and WIC, from food and housing insecurity programs to all the other assistance programs, all have a small fragment of a person’s whole picture. It is not until we can confidently share and accurately link those fragments together that we can achieve the vision of better outcomes from whole person data. Foundational to all interoperability, internal between departments or programs and with external trading partners, is highly accurate person matching so you build the correct person’s pictures from all those disparate systems and program. 

HHS can prevent losing 72% of disenrollment from procedural reasons. 

How to desilo data, overcome identity management challenges and know who is who 

Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies improve the lives of people in need through many different programs and services. But managing the identities of every individual served can be a difficult task for several reasons:  

• People are often eligible for more than one service.  

• They also often cycle through periods of eligibility and ineligibility.  

• Departments and agencies don’t have standardized information sharing procedures and tend to work in silos.  

• Different programs collect different demographic attributes and at different times.  

• On top of this, they sometimes don’t utilize the same databases to confirm personal information of participants.  

Improving data sharing across programs and departments to streamline efforts and to ensure people are enrolled in the programs they are eligible for is of the utmost importance for HHS agencies across the country. Program participation is associated with improved health outcomes, long-term financial benefits for people and the communities they live in, and even reduced crime rates. In order to see a complete and accurate view of every program participant, agencies need a robust identity management solution. The Verato hMDM platform enables agencies to clean up and organize their data, improve information sharing, and gain a 360-degree view of every resident. 

Get our ebook, “Three challenges for identity management in HHS, and how to overcome them”.  

Schedule a strategy session to learn how the Verato Universal Identity platform is helping states across the country to accurately link the fragments, unlock new insights and realize the benefits of whole person data. 

Palm, A. (2023, December 14). Keynote: View form HHS. Retrieved from ONC 2023 Annual Confernce: 
Tripathi, M. (2023, December 14). Keynote: View from ONC. Retrieved from ONC 2023 Annual Confernce: