The NwHIN Power Team, a subcommittee of the HIT Standards Committee, has been working over the past few months to analyze and score the NwHIN Exchange (SOAP) and Direct (SMTP/SMIME) specifications on such criteria as:
- Need for specified capability
- Maturity of the specification
- Maturity of the underlying technology used in the specification
- Deployment and operational complexity
- Industry adoption
- Available alternatives
Based on industry experience and investments in these efforts not only by health IT suppliers but also by provider organizations, the EHR Association has provided comments to the NwHIN Power Team, focused on several key points, including:
- Vendor readiness to support the NwHIN Patient Discovery, Query for Documents, and Retrieve (IHE XCPD & XCA) standards is more advanced than reflected in the Power Team analysis.
- We encourage the Power Team to address the gap resulting from the decision to not consider the use case for sharing health Information among HIE communities.
- Concerns expressed regarding the “complexity” of the Patient Discovery specification do not reflect the reality that this complexity comes not from the specifications, but from policy decisions not to develop shared patient identification principles and related operational deployment issues.
- The rationale for proposing to develop a RESTful approach as an alternative to the NwHIN needs to be validated.
- The Power Team discussion about why a specification gets a low or medium rating should be documented for the sake of transparency.
The full comments (available here) containing a detailed discussion have been submitted to the Power Team. I will post more after the Power Team makes their recommendations to the HIT Standards Committee.
The EHR Association is comprised of industry experts in the field of healthcare information technology with a broad scope of expertise such as medical and clinical informaticists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and technology experts who not only represent the EHR software industry but also interact and represent the entire healthcare community. The EHR Association offers unmatched experience and expertise, and provides a forum and structure for EHR leaders to work toward standards development, interoperability, the EHR certification process, performance and quality measures, HIT legislation, and other EHR issues.