Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The May HIT Standards Committee Meeting

Today, the HIT Standards Committee held their May meeting via teleconference and discussed several important topics.

1. The National Information Exchange Model Standards and Interoperability Framework continues to make progress. 11 RFPs have been issued (I will post updates next week) and 8 will be funded shortly. Coordinating 11 different contracts which support standards harmonization, specification writing, testing etc. requires masterful orchestration. A Concept of Operations (ConOps) document will detail the processes by which all these efforts will intertwine. At the June Standards Committee meeting, we will review the ConOps document, ensuring alignment between the NIEM effort and the HIT Standards Committee work.

2. NHIN Direct continues to make substantial progress. There is much confusion in the industry about NHIN Direct. It's a project, not a product. It's a pilot, not a regulation. There is no guarantee that NHIN Direct implementation guides will be formally incorporated into the NHIN project. NHIN Direct is an agile development project with 4 development teams creating software that demonstrates SMTP/TLS, REST, SOAP, and XMPP (Jabber) protocols for transmitting data and metadata between two points. To ensure oversight, review, and comment by the HIT Standards Committee, NHIN Direct has asked for a working group to evaluate the 4 workstreams and comment on which is best to be the focus of early pilots. The HIT Standards Committee agreed to take on this task, delivering an evaluation by June 10.

3. Privacy and Security work has many threads at ONC - the HIT Standards Committee P&S Workgroup, the HIT Policy Committee P&S Workgroup, the NHIN Coordinating Committee etc. To align all the efforts, Joy Pritts, the new ONC Chief Privacy Officer, will create a Privacy and Security Tiger Team, staffed by experts from all the other workgroups. They'll work hard for 6 months to accelerate policy and technology work to support privacy and security efforts in such areas as NHIN Direct, Consent and segmentation of various parts of the healthcare record.

4, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) contains a section (1561) on healthcare IT standards for enrollment. A new multi-stakeholder workgroup will be chaired by US CTO Aneesh Chopra and California Healthcare Foundation's Sam Karp. Its initial work products are due in 120 days, covering the secure standards and protocols that facilitate enrollment of individuals in Federal and State health and human services programs.

5. The Implementation Workgroup will provide online resources to accelerate interoperability using some of the tools to be provided by the NIEM RFP contracts.

While the above work is going on, the HIT Standards Committee will continue its efforts on Vocabulary and Quality.

A great discussion. The many simultaneous ONC standards efforts have been aligned to ensure the involvement HIT Standards Committee every step of the way.

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