In a new blog posting, Doug Fridsma, M.D., of the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT gives an update on efforts to develop standards for the exchange of health information. And he makes clear the standards won't be optional.

"Reducing optionality improves interoperability and lowers the cost for vendors to implement, thus lowering the cost for health care providers as well," Fridsma writes. "ONC is identifying the vocabularies, the message, and the transport 'building blocks" that will enable interoperability. While vendors should be able to flexibly combine them to support interoperable health information exchange (HIE), these 'building blocks' need to be unambiguous and have very limited (or no) optionality."

Fridsma notes progress made this year in developing standards to support transitions of care, lab results, and public health reporting. Work also continues on setting single vocabularies for each of the administrative, clinical, laboratory and medication domains, he adds. The complete blog is available here.


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