Health IT standards work continues

"Take your medicine"

Although most work on the Consolidated Health Informatics (CHI) initiative ended in 2004, interagency groups continue to work on three areas where no standard was identified for use by all federal and military agencies, Beth Halley, a contract worker for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT), told a federally supported panel yesterday.

In addition, a new work group is close to recommending a standard for allergy data, Halley told the Healthcare IT Standards Panel.

The panel is working under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute to harmonize data and communications standards for use in the National Health Information Network.

Halley reviewed the work of the CHI effort, a Bush administration e-government project to enable federal agencies to exchange medical data. The CHI work is continuing with staff support from ONCHIT.

CHI adopted 23 data standards and four messaging standards for use in future federal and military health IT systems, but in seven areas no standard was adopted: disability, medical history and physical, medical devices and supplies, multimedia data, population health, physiology, and proteins.

Halley said work is continuing on disability, medical devices and supplies and multimedia. “We’re very, very close to coming out with a new standard for allergies,” she added.

The standards adopted through CHI will be presented on a Web portal now being constructed, Halley said. She said she hoped the portal will be in use within a month.

By borrowing from the CHI work, the standards panel might save some time in a tight schedule for completing the complex task of identifying which standards should be used in the national network, panel members suggested.

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