Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Standards Charter Organization

I've received several emails about the Standards Charter Organization (SCO) recently announced in a press release.

Some folks have asked if SCO is the successor to HITSP or if it changes the landscape of standards harmonization efforts. I've been very close to the work of the SCO, which has been closely aligned with the HITSP Foundations Committee. The SCO is complementary not competitive with HITSP. Here's the full story.

Several standards organizations, NCPDP, HL7, X12 and ASTM, recognized that their individual efforts have organization specific priorities, scope, and component elements such as code sets.

Working together, the SDOs can coordinate their approach to more rapidly close gaps in standards, use common code sets in all their work products and avoid the development of overlapping standards.

By doing this, their individual work products will be "pre-harmonized" in many ways, making the work of HITSP, CCHIT, and implementation guide writers much easier.

The SCO process is just beginning. My hope is that the SCO will work with HITSP in a three ways

* HITSP will be able to hand off gaps in standards to the SCO for assignment to individual SDOs

* The SCO will identify cross-SDO projects and hand them off to the HITSP Foundations Committee for harmonization. Foundations has already worked on creating common code sets such as gender and marital status

* As we all work together to create a Nationwide Health Information Network, the "pre-harmonized" work products from the SDOs will accelerate interoperability

Thus, I completely support the efforts of the SCO. HITSP, SCO, and the HIT Standards Committee are all important parts of the interoperability ecosystem with different roles and responsibilities.


Lynne Gilbertson said...

Thank you John for helping to clarify the SCO. As the press release noted, the first goal of the SCO is to engage the executive-level or senior leadership of the organizations. While there are various projects underway amongst SDOs, it was recognized that executive leadership could come together for higher level goals. It was also recognized that HITSP Foundations Committee which works at harmonization across healthcare would benefit when there were projects that the executive leadership of the SDOs could help facilitate. Executive leadership of the SCO participates in Foundations Committee discussions and projects.

Unknown said...

Tatiana Abramson (employee of Harvard Medical School) pointed me to your blog and I've been following it for some time. Interesting analysis.

Firstly, I feel that your summary (assuming Healthcare IT becomes a reality as quickly as you envision - and there's no reason it shouldn't) gives me, a recent Computer Science B.S. grad, an additional industry to consider employment and apply my knowledge.

Secondly, I had found some posts a bit difficult to read because not all acronyms and abbreviations are obvious to people not in medicine. I created a little list of some of the terms you use. Hopefully it helps others as well:

HITEP - Health Information Technology Expert Panel
NQF - National Quality Forum
QDS - Quality Data Set
AHRQ - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
HITSP - Healthcare IT Standards Panel
AHIC - American Health Information Community
CDS - Clinical Decision Support
CARE tool - developed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
EHR - Electronic Health Records
BIDMC - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
HQA - Hospital Quality Alliance
PHR - Personal Health Record
NEHEN - New England Healthcare EDI Network
EDI - Electronic Data Interchange
EMHI - Eastern Massachusetts Healthcare Initiative
BIDPO - BIDMC Physicians Organization
MAeHC - Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative
AEGIS - AIDS Education Global Information System
ARRA - American Recovery and Re-investment Act

Most of these acronyms are not listed here:

Thanks for reading,

mabramso AT gmail.com