Industry Comments on Interoperability Roadmap Run the Gamut

Friday was the deadline for public comments on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s draft nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. Comment from industry groups ran the gamut from outright support to tough criticism.

Comments from the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission focused on the accreditation process for organizations and health IT products in the areas of privacy, security and confidentiality. While EHNAC was pleased to see that ONC recognizes that certification and testing to support adoption and optimization of health IT products and services is one of the five building blocks in the draft Interoperability Roadmap, the organization proposed that the document go further than just the certification/accreditation and testing of the interoperability standards.

“The range of functions, ease of use, vendor support and product platforms are all key issues for users of IT products,” EHNAC argued in its comments. “In addition to ‘base’ certification of standards, we would also recommend that ONC confer and include vendor and user groups to help define best practices for IT products to meet, especially in the realm of interoperability.”

At the same time, EHNAC asserts that there is a need to streamline the plethora of certification/accreditation programs that currently exist. “It will be important for ONC to recognize and work closely with other certification/accreditation programs to reduce any duplication of effort on the part of stakeholders and to align, as closely as possible, requirements among programs.”

EHNAC also recommended that ONC “allow entities to choose the certifications/accreditations they wish to achieve” and that it should be the “decision of the users of products to determine what certifications/accreditations they feel are necessary for a product in determining compliance with privacy, security and confidentiality to minimize exposure and risk of a breach or incident.” The organization warned that a “one-size-fit-all” approach will only lead to “complex and over-architected” products which may contain features not necessary to a wide range of users.

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