HIMSS, EHRA Applaud ONC’s 2015 Interoperability Advisory

May 5, 2015 in News

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and HIMSS’ Electronic Health Record Association have issued comments in support of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory, FierceHealthIT reports (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 5/4).


In January, ONC released a 2015 interoperability standards advisory, which reflects “ONC’s assessment of the best available standards and implementation specifications for clinical health information interoperability as of December 2014.”

Steven Posnack, director of ONC’s Office of Standards and Technology, said that an updated advisory will be released annually every December. ONC accepted comments on the 2015 advisory through May 1 (iHealthBeat, 1/30).

HIMSS’ Comments

Overall, HIMSS applauded ONC’s approach to emerging interoperability standards (Gold et al., “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 5/4).

In a letter sent to ONC on May 1, HIMSS wrote that it supports the advisory’s “tenets.” However, the group recommended several changes, including:

  • The inclusion of security standards, such as advanced encryption, digital signature standards and a transport layer security protocol;
  • Pinpointing a cohesive set of best available standards that would facilitate data sharing and comparing; and
  • Working with current “health care community-led processes” to highlight the best available standards in advisory updates.

EHRA’s Comments

In a separate letter, EHRA told National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo that it welcomes the draft advisory and “agree[s] with most of the choices of ONC in evaluating the best available standards.”

The group also made some recommendations, including:

  • Creating a separate, dedicated committee to handle comment resolution;
  • Defining principles to safeguard stability and sustainability, including processes to add or remove standards and information on standards maturity; and
  • Refining the advisory’s intended use, particularly “in relation to regulation and the Interoperability Roadmap” (FierceHealthIT, 5/4).
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