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You have until May 1 to Weigh in on the Open Draft of the 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory

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This is your chance to sound off on how the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will move forward in setting standards for EHR interoperability by commenting on the 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory. The current draft will be open for comment until Friday, May 1, 2015.

The 2015 Advisory’s scope focuses on clinical health information interoperability, but future “Advisories” might cover other avenues and all are intended to assist with the evolution of the Interoperability Roadmap.

The goal is to create a single list of standards to be used industry-wide to facilitate health information interoperability. In other words, this is where the rubber begins to meet the proverbial road as to how electronic health records (EHR) work within the numerous EHR software options like SOAPware, which is available through CloudPoint Technology, and is used my most of our customers.

Being able to efficiently exchange health information electronically has always been the goal of the EHR initiative, and as those of us who have been in the trenches over the past decade have seen, EHR software makers have created an environment not unlike an old west saloon fight, where proprietary file types duke it out. The ONC, and many others, are simply asking, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Getting along and using a single set of standards would make things much easier for not only healthcare providers, but patients as well.

The ONC is taking a long-run view of the advisory process, with an annual schedule of public comment periods, review periods, and finalize “best available standards” near the end of the calendar year, only to go through the process again the following year. It is a process expected to take several years to complete.

Best Available standards are under review for:

I. Best Available Vocabulary/Code Set/Terminology Standards and Implementation Specifications (i.e.,“semantics”)

II. Best Available Content/Structure Standards and Implementation Specifications (i.e., “syntax”)

III. Best Available Transport Standards and Implementation Specifications (i.e., the method by which information is moved from point A to point B

IV. Best Available Standards and Implementation Specifications for Services (i.e., the infrastructure components deployed and used to accomplish specific information exchange objectives)

Following the current comment period, ONC staff will submit a summary of the received comments to the Health IT Standards Committee to be reviewed for purposes of making recommendations in August. Another 60-day comment period will take place, at the conclusion of which, the following year’s Interoperability Standards Advisory is published. Then the process starts again in 2016.

You can browse the 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory on the OCN website, HealthIT.gov.

You can offer your comments online via the ONC Website, HealthIT.gov.

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