ONC posts new interoperability framework as providers vary on approach
New framework aims to track usage data on standardized data exchange progress.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is requesting public comment on its proposed measurement framework for implementing interoperability standards.
The ability to measure and report on the use of data exchange standards varies widely across healthcare, and ONC says the new framework could help technology developers, HIE organizations, and providers adopt a set of uniform, agreed-upon measures to assess progress on interoperability.
"Experience has shown that just because technology includes 'standardized' capabilities they are not necessarily used to their fullest extent nor are they always implemented in a 'standardized' manner," said ONC's Director, Office of Standards and Technology Steven Posnack, in a blog post.
[Also: ONC releases 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory]
"From a health IT perspective, this is especially true when other non-standard/non-computable options exist (e.g., fax), business incentives are misaligned, and in cases where exchange partners cannot equally benefit from standardized data exchange," he said.
Posnack said a key question to evaluating interoperability from a technical perspective – "did the people who developed the health IT in use implement the same standards in the same way to solve the same problem?" – is at the core of ONC's proposed measurement framework.
"For many standards today publicly reported, quantifiable data regarding their implementation and use is often not readily available or regularly tracked," he said. "Measuring for what purposes and to what extent interoperability standards are being implemented and used is of particular importance because it can identify industry trends as well as areas where standardization on its own appears not to be enough to prompt widespread use."
ONC is accepting public comment on the proposed Interoperability Standards Measurement Framework until July 31.
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