EHRA Responds to ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap

After many conference calls, and lots of “on the job training” using Google Docs to manage the edits of many contributors, we were pleased to submit our response to ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap. . . just in time to start working on the interoperability aspects of the proposed rule for Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Program . . .and to get ready for HIMSS15!

Overall, we’re positive about the framework the draft Roadmap is starting to put in place, its identified principles, and the pragmatic review of well-established and emerging interoperability standards and technologies. We did express some concern that ONC seems to view the many active, and increasingly successful, interoperability initiatives as a problem to be solved rather than work to inform go-forward strategies with valuable experiences to be built upon. In doing so, we provided some positive suggestions on how to approach interoperability governance in ways that rely on and leverage private sector efforts in the context of an effective public/private partnership.

Interoperability is fragile, and requires much care and ongoing maintenance.  As such, it is essential for the federal government and its regulations to leverage what is deployed and works today for millions of patients, while supporting (and facilitating in some cases) pilots of new standards, capabilities and models before including them in regulations to enhance these new approaches and to avoid disruptions in interoperability.

EHRA has been a consistent and vocal proponent of advancing interoperability using standards-based technologies since its inception in 2004. We published our Interoperability Roadmap version in 2006 and recently posted proposals for the next iteration on our web site.

Our bottom line to ONC: The execution of the proposed roadmap requires trust among stakeholder groups, and a collaborative spirit between the stakeholders and the federal government, without creating a federally-dominated process and without prescriptive requirements. Instead, ONC and other federal agencies should be active partners with the private sector in governance across the various domains, such as standards development, testing, and other areas. Multiple organizations, and existing and potentially new governance processes, are essential to orchestrate all the components necessary to arrive at the essential interoperability capabilities.

Charles Parisot (GE Healthcare IT), Chair, EHRA Standards & Interoperability Workgroup

Hans Buitendijk (Cerner), Vice Chair, EHRA Standards & Interoperability Workgroup


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