Developing Solutions to Health Information Exchange Challenges: Cheers to Another Successful S&I Framework Face-to-Face Meeting!

Dr. Doug Fridsma | April 19, 2012

Last week, the Office of Standards & Interoperability (OSI) hosted its third Standards & Interoperability (S&I) Framework Face-to-Face meeting in Alexandria, VA. More than 350 committed, enthusiastic volunteers traveled—on their own dime—to the nation’s capital to participate in this working meeting.

Working Together to Solve Health Information Exchange Challenges

For those of you unfamiliar with the S&I Framework, I define it as a community coordinated by OSI that brings together volunteer stakeholders to develop solutions to common health information exchange challenges in a rapid, iterative process. Members of the Framework are working on more than nine initiatives, each focused on solving a particular problem related to interoperable health information exchange. The portfolio of standards and specifications that evolve from this work can then be utilized as “building blocks” for health information exchange.


Commitment to the S&I Framework

What always inspires me is the fact that all these people are offering their time and commitment to the S&I Framework because they believe passionately that health information exchange and interoperability can’t wait. Representatives from the federal government, health care providers, electronic health record (EHR) vendors, hospitals and private health care organizations assembled together to reach, as Farzad likes to say, “accelerated development of consensus.” I am incredibly grateful for their enthusiasm and look forward to the continuing success of their work.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to a few highlights from last week’s meeting:

  • The various workgroup leaders engaged in discussions focused on the support of community-led initiatives and ongoing sustainability of the S&I Framework activities and outputs.
  • The Query Health initiative made great progress on planning for pilots, reference implementation development and the standards for asking and answering distributed queries.
  • The Federal Health Architecture met to discuss and determine priorities for the coming year.
  • A group of clinical decision support experts met to determine the future needs for standardizing clinical decision support interventions.
  • The Longitudinal Coordination of Care (LCC) workgroup refined the overall vision of the LCC initiative, gained consensus on a phased approach, drafted a high-level timeline, and generated a list of high-value, short-term deliverables that will become top priority. They defined the scope of the first Use Case and also discussed alignment to external activities in the long-term care community that are currently in progress.

Again, I send my sincere thanks to each and every participant for their dedication to this important work. I believe that it is some of the most critical work being coordinated by ONC and I am humbled by your commitment.

For more information on health information exchange or health information technology, visit