ONC calls for comments on interoperability standards

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is again asking for public comments for its Interoperability Standards Advisory, its dynamic registry of input on the standards and implementation specifications needed to guide the nation’s healthcare system toward more widespread data exchange.

In a blog post, ONC officials said it’s requesting “your comments on revisions and additions you suggest we make to the current content in the ISA. We are looking for your recommendations before we take a ‘snapshot’ of the ISA toward the end of the year. Any comments we receive will be reviewed for inclusion and the ISA will then be updated and posted on our website – referred to as the 2020 Reference Edition.”

As a central source of input on which interoperability standards apply to specific health IT applications, the ISA relies heavily on input from stakeholders in the industry.

Officials note that new components to the ISA include several interoperability needs related to e-prescribing and tobacco use; lists of specific data exchange needs to support specialty care and settings such as pediatrics and opioid prevention and treatment; and a new appendix linking to state and local public health agencies’ interoperability efforts.

The ISA continues to grow incrementally each year. The 2019 addition features new components ranging from specific standards on things like electronic prescribing; needs for support in specialty areas; and a new appendix with information on state and local interoperability efforts.

The push toward interoperability is a complicated effort, driven by a complex web of incentives, standards, and technological advances. As a central document that serves as a guide for the industry in which standards to adopt, the ISA’s accuracy and usefulness is driven in large part by the public input it receives. With many moving pieces to tie together, the challenges in interoperability lie well beyond simply moving patient data around.

Comments are due by 11:59 pm ET on September 23, 2019, and will be reviewed before being included in the snapshot.

“The ISA is a dynamic, coordinated catalog of the standards and implementation specifications that can be used to meet interoperability needs in healthcare,” said ONC’s Steven Posnack and Brett Andriesen in the blog post. “It continues to serve as the industry’s primary source of input on the interoperability standards that are a best fit for a particular health information technology use case, and plays a key role in ONC’s efforts to implement the 21st Century Cures Act. Your continued feedback is critical to ensure that the ISA includes the most up-to-date and accurate state of health IT standards across the U.S.”

Benjamin Harris is a Maine-based freelance writer and former new media producer for HIMSS Media.
Twitter: @BenzoHarris.

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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