The August HIT Standards Committee focused on criteria to assess standards maturity, concerns about the timing of the Meaningful Use 2014 edition final rule, further work on the national curated vocabulary and code set repository, and an important discussion about future ONC S&I framework efforts.
Dixie Baker presented the final recommendations of the NwHIN Power Team regarding the objective criteria used to assess the maturity of standards. Her framework was very well received. The Standards Committee will draft a formal letter of transmital to ONC suggesting that these criteria be applied when addressing and ONC or HIT Standards/HIT Policy Committee questions about standards readiness. Jim Walker offered a friendly amendment that these criteria are so good they could be used as an effective tool for predicting the future success of a new national standard. Given the current discussions by the Policy Committee's Meaningful Use Workgroup which is finalizing Stage 3 recommendations based on the future maturity of standards, all agreed that these maturity criteria should be used by HITSC workgroups to answer HITPC questions. Over the next month, we will use the criteria to respond to the Meaningful Use workgroup's latest requests for future standards availability.
Liz Johnson presented the work of the Implementation Workgroup, expressing the best thinking of those in operational settings who need to address software acquisition, installation and training by October 1, 2013 to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 timelines. After much discussion we agreed that the discussion of our concerns in the Standards Committee was sufficient communication to ONC. Hopefully, the final rule will be issued very soon and the contingency plans we outlined will not be required.
Jim Walker presented an update on the foundational work being done by the National Library Medicine to create a national vocabulary and code set resource in support of meaningful use data exchanges and quality measures. The Standards Committee will continue to offer their support, advice and encouragement to the NLM efforts.
Finally, Doug Fridsma answered many committee questions about the S&I framework and current initiatives. Once the FY13 ONC budget is finalized, the HIT Standards Committee will offer its advice how use those limited resources in the most efficient way possible to accelerate standards availability for future versions of Meaningful Use. Doug will update the Committee about Meaningful Use Stage 2 testing and certification criteria in September. Carol Bean noted that ONC will soon authorize the permanent certification bodies to begin their work.
We all look forward to seeing the final rule and continuing our focus on the necessary details to ensure the success of Meaningful Use stage 2 and 3 interoperability efforts.
John Halamka, MD, blogs regularly at Life as a Healthcare CIO.