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ONC Releases 2019 Health Data Interoperability Standards Advisory

The 2019 ISA contains updated standards and implementation specifications to meet health data interoperability needs.

ONC releases 2019 health data interoperability standards advisory

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- ONC has released the 2019 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA), which includes updated standards and implementation specifications to address health data exchange needs.

In a recent blog post, Steven Posnack, MS, MHS, Chris Muir, and Brett Andriesen noted that ONC received 74 comments on the ISA this year, resulting in nearly 400 individual recommendations for revisions.

“Since the 2018 comment period on the ISA closed on October 1, we combed through all your comments and made improvements based on your suggestions,” the authors wrote.

“The ISA itself is a dynamic document and is updated throughout the year, reflecting a number of substantive and structural updates based on ongoing dialogue, discussion, and feedback from stakeholders like you.”

Updates to the ISA include an RSS feed functionality that will allow users to track ISA updates in real time. Additionally, the advisory will now be structured as a simple alphabetized list instead of lettered subsections, and models and profiles will be relocated from Section IV to an Appendix. ONC also relocated Unique Device Identification from Section I to Section II to better represent underlying standards, content, and structure.  

ONC revised many of the interoperability need titles to better reflect their uses and align with ISA best practices, including the Patient Education Materials title, various Research titles, and multiple Electronic Prescribing titles.

The advisory will also contain several new interoperability needs, including representing the relationship between a patient and another person (provider, caregiver, or family member), and Operating Rules for claims, enrollment, and premium payments.

Moreover, the updated ISA will include several electronic prescribing-related interoperability needs, such as prescribing using weight-based dosing, pharmacy requests for additional refills, and pharmacy requests for prescription transfers.

As of January 9, 2019, ONC added a new Appendix that provides links to state and local public health agencies and their interoperability efforts. On January 11, the organization added prescriber requests for controlled substances to Section II: Electronic Prescribing.

The revised ISA will also contain more granular updates, including added standards, updated characteristics, and additional information about interoperability needs.

In addition to the updated ISA, ONC released the 2019 Reference Edition, a PDF version of the current ISA. The authors noted that this document is available for stakeholders who want a static version of the ISA that won’t change.

ONC expects that the updated ISA will be a valuable resource that will allow healthcare stakeholders to achieve greater interoperability. ONC encourages those who have additional comments or recommendations for the ISA to share their feedback or concerns.

“The ISA should be considered as an open and transparent resource for industry and reflects the latest thinking around standards development with an eye toward nationwide interoperability,” the authors concluded.

“If you spot something that we may have missed or identify other improvements, feel free to let us know and we will continue our work to update the ISA throughout the year.”

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