The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is responsible for advancing connectivity and interoperability of health information technology (health IT).
ONC’s 10 year plan for advancing interoperability is laid out in a document entitled Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap version 1.0 (Roadmap) [PDF - 3.7 MB].
The Roadmap, shaped by stakeholder input and public comments, supports the vision that ONC outlined in Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10 Year Vision to Achieve An Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure [PDF - 607 KB].
The collaborative efforts of stakeholders are crucial to achieving three goals:
- the vision of a learning health system where individuals are at the center of their care and providers have a seamless ability to securely access and use health information from different sources.
- to provide access to individuals health information, which is stored in electronic health records (EHRs), but includes information from many different sources and portrays a longitudinal picture of their health.
- helping public health agencies and researchers rapidly learn, develop, and deliver cutting edge treatments.
Version 1.0 of the Roadmap and related documents are available for download.
- A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap version 1.0 [PDF – 3.7 MB]
- Executive Summary [PDF - 1.4 MB]
- Supplemental Materials [PDF - 848 KB]
- Statements of Support [PDF - 410 KB]
The 2016 Year in Review presentation tracks progress toward the Roadmap’s guiding principles for the first year of the roadmap period.
The draft version of the Roadmap also remains available.
What is interoperability?
According to section 4003 of the 21st Century Cures Act, the term 'interoperability,' with respect to health information technology, means such health information technology that— "(A) enables the secure exchange of electronic health information with, and use of electronic health information from, other health information technology without special effort on the part of the user; "(B) allows for complete access, exchange, and use of all electronically accessible health information for authorized use under applicable State or Federal law; and "(C) does not constitute information blocking as defined in section 3022(a)."
The Roadmap: Calls to Action and Commitments Organized by Participant Group
We all play a role and must work together to make health information electronically and securely available when and where it is needed to support the health and well-being of all Americans. The calls to action and commitments from the Roadmap were shaped by input from both experts and people on the ground, who understand the complex health IT ecosystem and sensitive nature of health and care. Explore the calls to actions and commitments organized by participant group as well as the statements of support from industry groups and organizations.
Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10 Year Vision to Achieve An Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure [PDF – 607 KB] describes ONC’s broad vision and framework for interoperability. The concept paper is an invitation to all health IT stakeholders to join ONC in developing a defined, shared roadmap that will allow the nation to collectively achieve health IT interoperability as a core foundational element of better care, at a lower and better health for all.
2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria
The 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria (2015 Edition) rule works in concert with the Roadmap and serves as a key component in ONC’s commitment to establishing an interoperable nationwide health information infrastructure. The 2015 Edition rule builds on the foundation established with the 2011 and 2014 Editions to advance interoperability, and incorporates changes designed to foster innovation, open new market opportunities, and provide more choices to the care community when it comes to electronic health information exchange.
The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020
The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020 (Strategic Plan), identifies implementation of the Roadmap as critical to enhancing the nation’s health IT infrastructure. The Roadmap directly aligns with the Plan’s mission of improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities through the use of technology and health information that is accessible when and where it matters most. While the Plan focuses on federal efforts, the Roadmap details the policy, technology and behavioral changes that public and private stakeholders must make to achieve nationwide interoperability.
Interoperability Standards Advisory
The Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) process represents the model by which the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will coordinate the identification, assessment, and determination of the “best available” interoperability standards and implementation specifications for industry use to fulfill specific clinical health IT interoperability needs. For detailed background on the Advisory, its purpose, and its processes please review the 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory.
ONC also supports international efforts related to health IT standards.
The Interoperability Roadmap Infographic shows the way to better health, smarter spending and healthier people using health IT.