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Interoperability Standards Advisory

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has released the Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) of 2017 draft for Health Information Technology for public comments. ONC said that the advisory is a “coordinated catalog of standards and implementation specifications”, which is meant to be used by the industry.

The document states that, “ISA’s scope includes electronic health information created in the context of treatment and subsequently used to accomplish a purpose for which interoperability is needed (e.g., a referral to another care provider, public health reporting).”

ONC said that the draft of 2017 ISA “does not include within its scope administrative/payment oriented interoperability purposes or administrative transaction requirements that are governed by HIPAA and administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

The agency further added that they “discontinued use of the label ‘best available’ as an overall concept for the ISA.” In addition to that, ONC also dropped the “best” claim based on feedback to the previous versions of the advisory. The earlier versions received much criticism due to the inclusion of standards with “known limitations or low adoption levels.”

While reviewing last year’s draft advisory, Micky Tripathi, Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative CEO, challenged that many of the specifications and standards in the document like Healthcare Provider Directory, Quality Reporting Document Architecture, and Basic Patient Privacy Consents, were unproven in the common practice, and were not widely deployed in the industry.

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Office Of The National Coordinator

Keeping those in mind, this year’s ISA is “not exhaustive” in its listing of specifications and standards. ONC expects that “future ISAs will continue to incrementally include a broader range of clinical health IT interoperability needs.”

The agency noted that the draft 2017 “represents the first phase of ONC’s effort to transition the ISA to an interactive online platform, starting with the publication of this draft as an online version.” They also said that throughout this year, interactive functionality would be built into the platform.

ONC further announced the availability of the draft on their website, stating that, “Our goal is to shift the ISA experience from a static, PDF to an interactive, wiki-style product that stakeholders can more fully engage with and shape. This will enable more efficient, closer to real-time updates and comments as well as other valuable features.”

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