Federal Interoperability Roadmap: The Impact to Providers (Part 2)

Date: December 16th, 2015Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: Meaningful Use, Interoperability


This second of a three-part series outlines components of the ONC’s recently released Interoperability Roadmap to help providers understand what it means to them as they continue in the EHR Incentive Programs.

In October, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released the Shared Interoperability Roadmap.This roadmap describes the ONC’s vision and framework for connectivity and health IT infrastructure between today and the end of 2024. The Roadmap will be an important guide as Meaningful Use continues to progress towards Stage 3 and health IT furthers its impact on healthcare. There are a number of milestones that impact Meaningful Use in the Roadmap. 

In November’s newsletter, we outlined the shift to value-based payment, verifiable identity and the collection of data elements. This month we will discuss Health IT certifications.

Milestones to Foster Innovation in Technology Development

There are two important milestones in the Interoperability Roadmap related to health IT certifications. First, the ONC and industry-led testing and certification programs will develop a standard set of practices and policies that ensure consistency across testing and certification bodies that will encourage technology developers to accelerate testing tools for interoperability in EHRs. This milestone aims to produce consistency across EHRs in the development of technology for interoperability between systems. The goal, by 2024, is a comprehensive testing process that allows providers to continuously test their health IT systems for interoperability as new components are added.

The second certification milestone asks the Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) to create standards for the development of Application Programming Interfaces (API) without discouraging creativity or limiting opportunities for innovation. This is a challenging milestone as the need for the APIs to be aligned with existing standards is critical while the need to be innovative for the next wave of healthcare evolution is equally important. The ultimate goal is for more than 75 percent of technology developers participating in national projects to provide access to electronic health information through standard, public APIs. Access for patients to health data via an API on their mobile device, if the API is crafted properly, could fundamentally change the way healthcare is delivered. This work will be exciting to watch over the next decade. Stay tuned for Part 3 of this article next month!