Standards and Interoperability Enterprise Services
As defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Circular A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities (1998), the term standard “includes all of the following: (1) Common and repeated use of rules, conditions, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, and related management systems practices. (2) The definition of terms; classification of components; delineation of procedures; specification of dimensions, materials, performance, designs, or operations; measurement of quality and quantity in describing materials, processes, products, systems, services, or practices; test methods and sampling procedures; or descriptions of fit and measurements of size or strength.”1
Development of interoperable public health data standards provides a platform for exchange of information across all programs; it creates opportunity for improvement of national health through the meaningful use of health information technology (IT). This process includes assessing existing standards and sharing a knowledgebase with CDC internal and external partners. Also, by assessing and gathering standards, the Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance (DHIS) Standards and Interoperability Enterprise Services fulfills requirements of the Public Law 104-113, National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA) on use of and participation of federal agencies in the development of voluntary consensus standards (VCS).
Public health standards and interoperability tasks are based on existing federal law and regulations that pertain to the principles of federal engagement in standardization activities. The most critical reference sources to these federal laws and regulations are available at the Data Interchange Standards website, Law and Regulations tab.
Another overarching category of federal law, regulations, and standards for public health pertains to data privacy and security, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Promoting Interoperability, and other regulations. They are available at the Data Interchange Standards website, Privacy and Security tab.
CDC health IT standards and interoperability activities are a component of the CDC-wide standardization activities that are published annually by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) annual NTTAA reports.
The Data Interchange Standards web page provides standardization reference sources that are adopted by the Public Health Information Network (PHIN) for specific public health content areas, such as surveillance (e.g., public health reporting, immunization, healthcare-associated infection), vital records, and PHIN Communication and Alerting. Also, it provides reference sources to standardization law and policies and HIPAA Privacy and Security regulations.
The PHIN Vocabulary and Access Distribution System (PHIN VADS) is a critical component of the CDC Standards and Interoperability Services that develop, collect, and gather value sets that are used in public health as well as in clinical care.
As directed by OMB, Circular A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities (1998), CDC implements conformity assessment tasks and activities that are consistent with the 15 CFR Part 287 Guidance on Federal Conformity Assessment Activities (NIST, 2000) and the CDC role and mission. More information on federal conformity assessment activities may be found at the PHIN Conformity Assessment page.
As guided by Public Law 104-113, National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), CDC actively participates in development and implementation of voluntary consensus standards. CDC participates in development of standards for electronic data exchange by working with such national and international organizations as
- Health Level Seven International (HL7);
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO);
- Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE);
- International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO);
- Regenstrief Institute;
- The Society for Standards Professionals (SES); and
- World Health Organization (WHO).
For more details on CDC participation in development and implementation of VCS or obtaining a free copy of HL7 standards (for CDC staff only) contact email@example.com.
1 Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Circular A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities (February 10, 1998), Revised. At: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/omb/circulars_a119_a119fr