The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has released a draft of its 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory for public comment.

According to ONC, the advisory is a “coordinated catalog of standards and implementation specifications” meant to be used by industry as a single, public list to meet interoperability needs focused explicitly on clinical health IT.

“ISA’s scope includes electronic health information created in the context of treatment and subsequently used to accomplish a purpose for which interoperability is needed (e.g., a referral to another care provider, public health reporting),” states the document.

However, the agency also said that the draft 2017 ISA “does not include within its scope administrative/payment oriented interoperability purposes or administrative transaction requirements that are governed by HIPAA and administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

At the same time, the agency said that it “discontinued use of the label ‘best available’ as an overall concept for the ISA.” ONC’s change in approach by dropping the “best” claim was based on feedback to previous versions of the advisory, which were criticized for including standards with “known limitations or low adoption levels.”

In reviewing the 2016 draft advisory released last year, Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative CEO Micky Tripathi contended that several of the standards and specifications in the document—such as Basic Patient Privacy Consents, Healthcare Provider Directory and Quality Reporting Document Architecture—were not widely deployed in the industry and were unproven in common practice.

While this year’s ISA is “not exhaustive” in its listing of standards and specifications, ONC said that it expects that “future ISAs will continue to incrementally include a broader range of clinical health IT interoperability needs.”

The agency noted that the 2017 draft “represents the first phase of ONC’s effort to transition the ISA to an interactive online platform, starting with the publication of this draft as an online version.” In addition, ONC said that interactive functionality will be built into the platform throughout this year.

“Our goal is to shift the ISA experience from a static, PDF to an interactive, wiki-style product that stakeholders can more fully engage with and shape,” stated a recent ONC blog announcing the availability of the draft. “This will enable more efficient, closer to real-time updates and comments as well as other valuable features.”

However, the agency said it is also making a printer-friendly version of the ISA available.

ONC’s public comment period will end at 5 p.m. on October 24. A copy of the draft document can be found here.

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