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Interoperability Standards Advisory

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has set a few new standards in their latest draft on how data should be shared by the Electronic Health Record systems. As per the new rules, hospitals and clinicians in the country must meet the standards set by the Interoperability Standards Advisory, to be eligible to receive payments from Medicaid and Medicare. The introduction of these data standards will allow the systems from various vendors to use a unique language in coding clinical interactions, health conditions, prescriptions, vaccinations, and for a lot more related purposes.

The director of the Office of Standards and Technology, Steven Posnack, and the director of the office’s Health IT Infrastructure and Innovation Division, Chris Muir, jointly announced the draft standards in a blog post. They said that, “by providing the industry with a single, public list of the standards and implementation specifications that can be consistently used to fulfill specific clinical interoperability needs, we hope to spur more seamless and secure flow of information across the health system.” The post also read that five major changes were made in the draft, which was based on the feedback from stakeholder groups and from the public.

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This year’s ISA looks more interactive and web based, giving a closer look on ONC’s thought process. The Interoperability Standards Advisory reflects on the department’s effort to transfer the health related documents into an online medium, allowing stakeholders to comment directly on the documents and share their feedbacks and related concerns. ONC has also omitted the phrase “best available” from the document, because it seemed subjective and might be open to interpretation.

An Interoperability Proving Ground portal is also developed by ONC, which will allow stakeholders to stay connected with ISA-listed standard model projects. This will also allow users to search numerous interoperability projects from all over the world, as well as add their own. Moreover, the appendix from ONC offers an insight on future activities and discussions on interoperability.

Reports claim that the requirements may exceed clinical billing to include administration, billing, and preventive health schedules standard. ONC might also look on how to assure a chain of trust in case of health data, which moves across the electronic health record ecosystem. At present, the department is inviting public comments on the ISA; the deadline for the same is Oct. 24, 2016.

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