Today, we issued Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0 (“Roadmap”).  This Roadmap reflects nearly a year of collaborative effort with extensive input from the public and private sectors and is a call to action to see that we can unlock digital health information and see that it can be appropriately used when and where it matters most, to who matters most – the people of this nation.  We articulate a vision and path forward that will require shared action between the public and private sector to create a health ecosystem that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people.

This Roadmap builds out the ideas ONC raised in A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure released in June 2014.  We heard loudly and clearly that it was time to focus on interoperability as a priority and we articulated why the time is now to achieve the vision.  First, as a nation, we have made significant progress in digitizing the care experience such that there is now data to be shared.  Second, consumers increasingly expect and demand real-time access to their electronic health information.  Third, evolving delivery and payment models are driving appropriate data sharing.  Fourth, best practice models of information exchange and interoperability across the nation indicate it is possible to achieve. Fifth, technology is evolving in ways that will greatly simplify the challenge.  And sixth, opportunities to improve care and advance science in a learning health system environment demand rapid action.

Informed by your input and feedback we acted on this opportunity. Throughout the process, we received input from hundreds of health and health IT experts from across the nation through ONC Federal Advisory Committees’ (FACAs) feedback, whose membership includes 167 representatives from over 140 private and public organizations, as well as 25 federal partners, 90 individuals from 38 states, a host of  listening sessions and an online forum.

The Roadmap released today describes the critical pathway to realizing this vision and the impactful actions we believe need to be prioritized and taken.

Establishing clear standards is the first priority.  With today’s announcement, ONC is delivering on this assignment with the release of the 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory: The best available standards and implementation specifications (“Standards Advisory”).  The Standards Advisory represents ONC’s assessment of the best available technical standards and implementation specifications for clinical health information technology interoperability as of December 2014. Overall, the Standards Advisory is meant to serve two purposes: to provide the industry with a single, public list of the standards and implementation specifications that best enable specific clinical health information interoperability purposes; and, to prompt dialogue and reach consensus among industry stakeholders when more than one standard or implementation specification could be listed as the best available.

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