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Health Care Landscape Health Care Standards Landscape
Tom Rhodes (Tom

Overview: The healthcare industry has many standards development organizations (SDOs) developing specifications and standards to support healthcare informatics, information exchange, systems integration, and a wide spectrum of healthcare applications. The large number of healthcare organizations and standards that exist, or are in-development, make it difficult to monitor and track the overall landscape of healthcare standards. In-turn, this impedes standards coordination and harmonization efforts among SDOs, and frustrates efforts by users and organizations to identify, understand, adopt, and deploy needed standards. Many of these problems can be relieved, and collaboration and implementation efforts improved, by improving the availability and dissemination of healthcare standards information among developers, implementers, and users of healthcare standards. The NIST Health Care Standards Landscape (HCSL) project is supporting this need by providing a Web capability that enables publishing and finding healthcare standards information by stakeholders in the healthcare standards community.

Industry Need Addressed: Development, adoption, and use of healthcare standards can be improved by ensuring that developers and stakeholders (e.g. healthcare providers, payers, suppliers, integrators, vendors, users, etc) are aware of existing and ongoing healthcare standards' development and deployment efforts. The NIST HCSL project is promoting increased awareness and knowledge among stakeholders by developing and demonstrating a Web-based tool and repository of information on healthcare standards, organizations, and resources that can aid in development, coordination, harmonization, implementation, adoption and use of healthcare standards.

NIST/ITL Approach: NIST is collaborating with healthcare standards developers and stakeholders to develop, test, and demonstrate the HCSL capability. In developing the HSCL, NIST works with the ANSI Healthcare Information Standards Panel (HITSP), the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ), the e-Gov Consolidated Health Informatics (CHI) program, and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT). NIST also monitors and engages with other SDOs and healthcare organizations, such as, ADA, IEEE-1073, HL7, and NCPDP. The HCSL tool and data repository are available on the Web for healthcare standards' stakeholders to search for and publish healthcare standards' information. NIST plans to make an open-source version of the HCSL software available for downloading and use by other organizations, and is exploring the transfer and continued operation of the public HCSL capability to an external organization.

Impact:  The HCSL provides a centralized, comprehensive source for finding and publishing healthcare standards information over the Web. It includes information on healthcare standards and their development organizations, on organizations that use or implement HC standards, and other related information. The HCSL also includes links to other healthcare standards resources that are available on the Web. Thus, the HCSL information supports development, implementation, and adoption of healthcare standards, by enabling users, vendors, system developers, and integrators to quickly find or publish relevant information on healthcare standards, and to become more knowledgeable about healthcare standards, organizations, and their healthcare standards' activities and applications.