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Health Information Technology Standards

Standards Development

Who Develops Standards | Standards Categories | Tutorials

Standards Development, according to the International Standards Organization (ISO), is conducted according to the following three principles:

  • Consensus - the interests of all stakeholders are taken into account: manufacturers, users, vendors, consumer groups, testing laboratories, governments, engineering professions and research organizations
  • Industry wide - standards solutions have to satisfy industries and customers worldwide
  • Voluntary - international standardization is market driven and therefore based on voluntary involvement of all stakeholders in the market-place.

Who Develops Standards?

Health information technology (HIT) standards are developed and maintained by Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), Data Content Committees (DCCs), Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs), and Designated Standard Maintenance Organizations (DSMOs).

Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) are entities that develop, coordinate, promulgate, revise, amend, reissue, interpret, or otherwise maintain standards that address the interests of users outside the SDO. In the United States there are several hundred SDOs which are coordinated by the central National Standards Body (NSB) the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). SDOs accredited by ANSI develop standards using open and transparent processes.

Data Content Committees (DCCs) and Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs) are industry consortia or community-driven associations formed to expedite the standard development process or to develop standards for particular software solutions.

Designated Standard Maintenance Organizations (DSMOs) are entities designated by the DHHS Secretary to maintain the national standards adopted by the Secretary under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The following Data Content Committees (DCCs) and Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs) have agreed to maintain the national standards.

Health Information Technology Standards Committee is charged with making recommendations to Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) on standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information. The HIT Standards Committee workgroups are:

  • Clinical Operations
  • Clinical Quality
  • Consumer/Patient Engagement
  • Privacy and Security
  • Implementation
  • Vocabulary
  • Nationwide Health Information Network

Standards Categories

In February 2006, Health Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) identified the following health information technology standards categories: