Standards panel aligns interoperability specs with ARRA

By Bernie Monegain
10:38 AM

The Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel has approved new interoperability specifications for electronic health records, data exchange and architecture that align with the federal government's stimulus package for healthcare IT.

"HITSP has transformed its existing work to be completely aligned with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)," said John Halamka, MD, chairman of the panel. "These approved specifications represent the culmination of some 90 days and 13,000 hours of volunteer effort to meet the requirements of this landmark piece of legislation."

Approved by the panel at its July 8 meeting are:

  • HITSP/IS107 – Electronic Health Record (EHR)-centric Interoperability Specification
  • HITSP/TN904 – Exchange Architecture and Harmonization Framework Technical Note
  • HITSP/TN903 – Data Architecture Technical Note
  • HITSP/SC108-SC116 – Service Collaborations

On April 7, HITSP began to leverage its 13 Interoperability Specifications (IS) and 60 related constructs to consolidate all information exchanges that involve an electronic health record system. The work was organized around ARRA requirements, specifically for the HITECH section.

HITSP formed temporary "tiger" teams to map EHR-related information exchanges to ARRA requirements. These teams identified "capabilities" – specific, implementable business services that use existing HITSP constructs to define and specify interoperable information exchanges. For example, the Communicate Hospital Prescriptions Capability addresses the interoperability requirements needed to support electronic prescribing for inpatient prescription orders.

Twenty-six capabilities have been defined that support the workflow, information content, infrastructure and security and privacy requirements laid out in the ARRA legislation.

HITSP capabilities also address the "meaningful use" of health information technologies. Last week, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)'s Health IT Policy Committee recommended a definition of meaningful use that names seven electronic exchanges to be required by 2011: e-prescribing, lab results, clinical data summaries (problems, medications, allergies, laboratory reports) from provider to provider, biosurveillance, immunization registries, public health and quality measurement.

"HITSP capabilities provide specific transactions supporting all seven of these required exchanges and others that will be needed in 2011, 2013 and beyond," said Halamka. "Going forward, the panel will continue to work closely with ONC to respond to ARRA and meaningful use requirements that can be addressed by EHR systems."

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