Adopted Standards for HHS Use

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) amended the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to provide HHS with authority to establish programs to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health information technology (IT), including electronic health records and private and secure electronic health information exchange. These improvements are achieved in part through adoption of health IT standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria adopted by ONC on behalf of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ONC adopts standards and implementation specifications through regulation (45 CFR Part 170 Subpart B) for use by heath IT developers certifying products in the ONC Health IT Certification Program.  These standards may also be referenced by HHS agencies and other federal partners for use in their programs – for example the CMS requirements for Payer APIs under the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule in 2020. In this way, HHS and ONC support interoperability by advancing aligned content, vocabulary, technical and exchange standards across the health care continuum. 

The standards adopted under PHSA Section 3004 will continue to expand over time as ONC works to identify updated or new standards for adoption in partnership with federal agencies and the health care, public health, health care research and health IT communities.