The 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory is Here

Steven Posnack and Chris Muir | December 22, 2015

Today, ONC released the 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA)—a coordinated catalog of existing and emerging standards and implementation specifications developed and used to meet specific interoperability needs. In short, the advisory provides a single resource for those looking for federally recognized, national interoperability standards and guidance.

The Interoperability Standards Advisory is a critical element of our delivery system reform vision where electronic health information is unlocked and securely accessible to achieve better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. It is part of our near term strategy – laid out in the Interoperability Roadmap – to build on our health IT success to date in order to drive more user friendly technology and connect the current infrastructure.

Specifically, the 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory includes significant structural changes (previewed earlier this fall for comment).   These changes expanded the Standards Advisory’s depth and breadth.  Most notably, the 2016 Advisory includes six informative characteristics for each standard and implementation specification referenced. We believe that these characteristics will help provide stakeholders with more context regarding the relative maturity and adoptability of standards and implementation specifications.  They also help set a baseline that will allow us to track industry progress over time as standards and implementation specifications get updated and retired; move from draft to final; mature from pilot to production; and grow from low to high adoption.

We have been thrilled with the engagement, energy, and input we have received throughout the year.  As we mark today’s milestone, we want to thank everyone that has contributed to this new process. Looking back, we have completed a lot of work – together as a community – in a relatively short period of time. Even though we are marking the publication of the 2016 Standards Advisory today, our work with you will begin again at the start of 2016. The ISA is a continuous, annual process where we make updates and improvements in order to keep pace with developments in the health IT industry—and the draft 2017 Advisory will be published in only nine “short” months.