Key Resource for Clinicians and Developers to Enhance Flow of Electronic Health Information
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) (@) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) (@) released the 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA). The ISA catalogues key information about standards and implementation specifications – such as whether they are required by any federal programs or how widely used they are – to help enhance information sharing for key clinical data, including medication lists, immunization records, and test results.
“The ISA is a key step toward achieving the goals we have outlined with our public and private sector partners in the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, as well as the Interoperability Pledge announced earlier this year,” said Vindell Washington, M.D., M.H.C.M., national coordinator for health information technology. “We incorporated detailed stakeholder feedback to provide a consolidated, public list of standards and specifications that can be put to use to address clinical, public health, and research needs for sharing electronic health information.”
The Roadmap coordinates public and private sector efforts to advance the safe and secure exchange of electronic health information to improve individual, community, and population health.
To support the goals of the Roadmap, companies that provide electronic health records to 90 percent of hospitals, the largest private health care systems in the country – with facilities in 47 states, and two dozen professional associations and stakeholder groups pledged to implement three core commitments to enhance interoperability, including implementing federally recognized, national interoperability standards, policies, guidance, and practices for electronic health information, and adopt best practices including those related to privacy and security.
The 2017 ISA – an update to the 2016 version released in December 2015 and the draft 2017 version released on August 22, 2016 – will help stakeholders achieve these goals and reflects the ongoing dialogue, debate, and consensus among industry stakeholders—including deliberations by the Health IT Standards Committee.
This year, ONC transitioned the ISA from a static document to an online platform so stakeholders can more fully engage with and shape the ISA on an ongoing basis. This platform allows for more efficient, close to real-time updates and comments as well as links to projects included in the Interoperability Proving Ground that might be using a particular ISA-referenced standard. These improvements will help ensure that the ISA continues to keep pace with developments in the health IT industry and grows as a coordinated resource nationwide.
Efforts to promote common, federally-recognized standards to enable health IT systems and modules – such as electronic health records – to speak the same language are a critical element of delivery system reform, by helping to provide the information foundation for a health system that rewards better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. This work also supports the administration’s efforts to empower patients, their families, and other caregivers to learn and communicate easily about their health, engage in shared decision-making with their health care providers; and manage their health in convenient and meaningful ways, resulting in better individual outcomes.