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Health Information Exchange (HIE)

Standards & Interoperability

The work promoting the adoption and uptake of health information technology is key to ensuring the goals of the HITECH Act. But work being done to ensure that the technical standards and specifications are in place to support this technology is also critical to the development and success of a fully functional nationwide health IT ecosystem.

As with the technology that people use every day – telephone, email, Internet, mobile technology – interoperable health information exchange is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Different providers will have different uses, and the standards and specifications supporting those needs are being developed and harmonized within Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) Office of Science & Technology (OST). We have initiatives underway to standardize

  • meaning through the use of standardized healthcare vocabularies,
  • structure by leveraging standards in HL7,
  • transport using secure email protocols,
  • security through National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-adopted encryption standards, and
  • services through open, and accessible application programming interfaces (APIs).

These are the fundamental building blocks of interoperability.

ONC is working to enable the health IT community to convene and rapidly prioritize health IT challenges and subsequently develop and harmonize standards, specifications and implementation guidance to solve those challenges. ONC is also responsible for curating the set of standards and specifications that support interoperability and ensuring that they can be assembled into solutions for a variety of health information exchange scenarios.

Click here  for more information on the portfolio of solutions supporting health information exchange.