Health IT group recommends initial standards

The Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel has identified and recommended 90 initial standards that will let patient data be securely exchanged in a nationwide health information network.

The standards group distilled the 90 standards from 600 candidate standards, said John Halamka, HITSP chair and chief information officer of Harvard Medical School.

HITSP, which was formed to harmonize standards to advance health IT, operates under a contract administered by the Health and Human Services Department's Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

It has focused on standards associated with early health IT uses in biosurveillance, consumer empowerment and electronic health care records, areas that the public/private advisory American Health Information Community identified. For example, HITSP identified standards for physicians and health professionals to exchange clinical-lab reports, integrate those results in an electronic health record and request historical lab results.

HITSP will provide in late September detailed interoperability specifications to support each use case, Halamka said last week.

"Our next task will be to produce the detailed standards guides, called interoperability specifications, that will enable the creation of a secure information superhighway for health care," he said in a statement.

More than 190 organizations representing consumers, health care providers, public health agencies, government agencies and standards development organizations participate in HITSP. The American National Standards Institute, which coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards system, administers HITSP.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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