Overview of ONC’s Standards Version Advancement Process

Steven Posnack (ONC)


The 21st Century Cures Act offers flexibility for technology developers to adopt new standards that meet evolving needs. ONC is currently establishing processes through which particular federally adopted standards can evolve in a more streamlined manner based on evidence gathered during real world testing.

Key Takeaways

ONC Has Flexibility to Approve New Standards on a Voluntary Basis Without Lengthy Rulemaking

As technology evolves, standards named in regulation can quickly become obsolete. The “Real World Testing” provision of the 21st Century Cures Act authorizes ONC to establish a process wherein certified health IT developers can adopt more advanced versions of standards voluntarily. More details regarding the Standards Version Advancement Process are available at https://www.healthit.gov/isa/standards-version-advancement-processexternal icon.

Only specific standards and implementation specifications (and their versions) will be considered for advancement through this process. USCDI is one example. Other examples include syndromic surveillance, reporting to immunization registries, electronic lab reporting, cancer reporting, reporting of healthcare associated infections, and healthcare surveys

USCDI Will Expand Over Time and New Data Elements can be Added Based on Input from the Public

As part of the Standards Version Advancement Process, ONC has prepared a process for engaging the public that includes a data elements submission system to identify potential data elements to  be promoted into the next version of USCDI. Evidence of implementation is an important factor in determining what data elements will be added to the core. Public health partners are encouraged to get involved to help shape future iterations of USCDI and other standards eligible for advancement through the ONC defined processes. This will help to ensure that federally adopted interoperability standards evolve in a way that meets the needs of public health stakeholders.