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ONC Seeks Comments on Interoperability Standards Advisory


The ISA could clarify standards and implementation specifications for use in clinical health IT interoperability projects.


It’s been a busy year for interoperability rules and standards proposed by government agencies looking to promote more seamless health data sharing. From proposed rules authored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to an updated Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA), change appears to imminent.

As with most frameworks and proposed rules, feedback is critical. ONC announced today that it’s seeking public comment on revisions and additions to the updated ISA. The agency is looking for recommendations before it takes a snapshot of the advisory toward the end of the year.

In January, ONC announced revisions to the ISA that addressed needs brought forward during the 2018 comment period.

Updates to the advisory included the addition of several interoperability needs related to electronic prescribing and an appendix that provided links to state and local public health agencies’ interoperability efforts. The update also added lists of interoperability needs in support of specialty care and settings, including pediatrics and opioids for treatment and prevention.

The ISA is meant to:

  • Provide the healthcare industry with a single public list of standards and implementation specifications to best address specific clinical health information interoperability needs.
  • Reflect the results of dialogue among healthcare stakeholders when more than one standard could be used to address a specific interoperability need.
  • Document known limitations and dependencies and provide suggestions for security best practices.

“(The ISA) 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,” Steven Posnack, the incoming deputy national coordinator, and Brett Andriesen, who works on health IT standards at ONC, wrote in a blog post.

The public comment period will end at 11:59 p.m. ET Sept. 23.

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