By John Halamka, Life as a Healthcare CIO
The August meeting of the HIT Standards Committee (the 28th meeting of this FACA) was a milestone in parsimony. As you'll see, we approved a set of vocabulary recommendations and public health standards that represent harmony as well the fewest number of standards possible for the intended purpose.
Since April, we've been working hard on Summer Camp. At our September meeting, we'll wrap up all that work and hand off the finished standards recommendations to ONC for regulation writing.
Per our Summer Camp plan, the August meeting included final recommendations on vocabulary standards for quality measures, final recommendations on all public health transactions, preliminary recommendations on patient matching, and preliminary recommendations on transport/security standards. We also heard from the Standards and Interoperability Framework team about their work and the Implementation Workgroup on their review of Certification Criteria.
This was a powerful meeting, discussing the standards that so many people have been working on for the past decade - one vocabulary standard for each class of data used in quality measures, one approach to public health transactions, one approach to transfer of care summaries, one approach to laboratory results, and a building block approach to data transmission that supports the portfolio of health information exchange options.
We began with the final recommendations from the Clinical Quality Workgroup and Vocabulary Task force on vocabulary standards. Per the marching orders we gave them, they selected one vocabulary standard for each domain - problems, medications, allergies, labs etc. SNOMED-CT and LOINC are the default vocabularies used whenever possible. The committee approved these recommendations by consensus with 2 caveats
-the Implementation Workgroup will be charged with ongoing review of the implementation burden of using these standards in a variety of settings
-the September meeting of the HIT Standards Committee will include discussion of a transition plan for those vocabulary standards required for Stage 1 that are being retired/replaced in Stage 2.
Marc Overhage presented best practices for patient matching, identifying the metadata that should be standardized in patient records and health information exchange. These recommendations are complementary to the metadata standard recommendations in the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, enabling stakeholders to optimize a patient matching strategy as needed for their applications using best practices and evidence from industry experience.
Chris Chute presented the recommendations for public health standards - one HL7 2.51 implementation guide for surveillance, one HL7 2.51 implementation guide for immunizations and one HL7 2.51 implementation guide for reportable labs. The optionality specified in meaningful use stage 1 was eliminated and the end result are simple un-ambiguous implementation guides for public health.
Dixie Baker presented the preliminary recommendations for building blocks that support data exchange in both "push" and "pull" models. The key innovation in Dixie's is the process for reviewing existing standards for appropriateness, adoption, maturity, and currency.
Jitin Asnaani from ONC presented the S&I Framework update including Certificates, Lab Results, Transitions of Care, and Provider Directories. These will be reviewed and hopefully turned into guidance for ONC in the next few months.
Finally, Judy Murphy and Liz Johnson presented their work on certification criteria.
A remarkable meeting from a world class team. I'm proud to be a part of it!