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Standardization, as defined by the International Organization for Standards (ISO)), is the process of agreeing on standards, which represent the common language that allows the exchange of data between disparate data systems. The goals of standardization are to achieve comparability, compatibility, and interoperability between independent systems, to ensure compatibility of data for comparative statistical purposes, and to reduce duplication of effort and redundancies.
A Standard, is a definition, set of rules or guidelines, format, or document that establishes uniform engineering or technical specifications, criteria, methods, processes, or practices that have been approved by a recognized standard development organization (SDO), or have been accepted by the industry as de facto standards, or de jure standards, i.e., formal legal requirements. De facto standards have become standards because a large number of companies have agreed to use them. They have not been formally approved as standards, but they are standards nonetheless.
Standards Categories. In February 2006, the Health Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) identified the following health information technology standards categories: