By Dr. Brian Levy, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer with Health Language, part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently released the 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA), an update to the 2016 version that holds great promise for advancing health information exchange. National Coordinator Vindell Washington hailed the release as “a key step toward achieving the goals” outlined in the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap and Interoperability Pledge announced earlier this year. Thus, the Interoperability theme continues as seen with the recent Cures Act and MIPS. Even HHS Secretary nominee Tom Price during his confirmation hearings stated that the federal government’s role “ought to be interoperability: to make sure the different systems can talk to each other so it inures to the benefit of the patient.”
A progressive move on the national front, the 2017 ISA further coordinates public and private sector efforts around a common goal for sharing health information to improve population health at the patient, community, and national level. The ISA catalogues key information about standards and implementation specifications—such as whether they are required by any federal programs or how widely they are used—to help enhance information sharing for key clinical data, including medication lists, problem and diagnosis, immunization records, and test results.