Publishing the Draft 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory for Public Comment: The Latest Step Towards Common, Federally Recognized Standards

Steven Posnack, M.S., M.H.S. and Chris Muir | August 22, 2016

Today, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) published the draft 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) for public comment.  The ISA is a coordinated catalog of standards and implementation specifications that are available for use by the health information technology (health IT) industry to meet interoperability needs.  It is a key element of ONC’s continued implementation of the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap and directly supports the Interoperability Commitments that leading health IT developers, providers, and professional associations and stakeholder groups made earlier this year to adopt “federally recognized, national interoperability standards, policies, guidance, and practices for electronic health information.”

In short, 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 input and feedback we have received from across the health IT spectrum on earlier ISA versions has helped us continue to shape the ISA into an effective resource and guide for all who are engaged in interoperability work. We have attempted to reflect the ongoing dialogue, debate, and consensus among industry stakeholders—including public comment from earlier this year and deliberations by the Health IT Standards Committee—particularly where more than one standard or implementation specification could be used to fulfill specific clinical health information needs.

The draft 2017 ISA also represents the first phase of ONC’s effort to transition the ISA to an interactive online platform, starting with the publication of this draft as an online version. Additional interactive functionality will be built throughout this year.  Our goal is to shift the ISA experience from a static, PDF to an interactive, wiki style product that stakeholders can more fully engage with and shape.  This will enable more efficient, closer to real-time updates and comments as well as other valuable features, such as hyperlinks to projects in the Interoperability Proving Ground that are using a particular ISA-referenced standard.  A printer-friendly version of the ISA will be made available as well.

ONC will be accepting public comments on a draft of the 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory. The comment period will end at 5 p.m. on Monday, October 24, 2016.

Questions or comments on the draft 2017 ISA? Join ONC (@ONC_HealthIT) and Steve Posnack (@HealthIT_Policy) for Twitter chat at 3:00 PM EDT on August 30, 2016 using #ISAchat.