The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has issued its draft Interoperability Standards Advisory for 2017 for review and public comment.

The advisory represents the model by which ONC will coordinate the identification, assessment and public awareness of interoperability standards and implementation specifications that can be used by the industry. The most substantive changes between the 2016 advisory and the 2017 draft are largely related to its content and framing. They include:

  • The beginning of the transition of the advisory from a standalone document to an interactive,web-based resource
  • Discontinued use of the label “best available” in order to be more inclusive
  • Links to active projects listed in ONC’s “interoperability proving ground”
  • Better representation of pairing of standards for observations (questions) and observation values (answers)

The 2017 draft also revises the language of several of the six informative characteristics of interoperability standards (standards process maturity, implementation maturity, adoption level, federal requirement status, cost and test tool availability).

In a related blog post, Steven Posnack, ONC’s Office of Standards and Technology director, and Chris Muir, director of the agency's HIT infrastructure and Innovation division, note that the advisory is the latest step toward common, federally recognized interoperability standards to help guide those involved in interoperability work.

“[B]y 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" they say. "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 final 2017 advisory will be published in December.

To learn more:
- read the draft advisory
- here’s’ the blog post