Web site delivers IT standards relief in one click

June 17, 2004

Developing electronic healthcare infrastructure is geting a little easier. The National Alliance for Health Information Technology has just opened a healthcare IT standards directory that places all standards, plus links to more than 200 standards

Developing electronic healthcare infrastructure is geting a little easier. The National Alliance for Health Information Technology has just opened a healthcare IT standards directory that places all standards, plus links to more than 200 standards development organizations, in one big online bucket.

Information technology standards are the cornerstone for building a new electronic healthcare infrastructure. But finding the correct healthcare IT standard for the proper activity is not easy. Over 850 voluntary and mandatory medical IT standards exist, ranging from AAIM 62304 (Medical Device Life Cycle Process) to XP ENV 13608-3 (Health Informatics Secure Communications).

"You can see the complexity involved for anyone trying to get a better idea of the overall picture," said Rod Piechowski, program manager for the National Alliance.

Now for the first time, the healthcare community can easily locate and research pertinent standards as they plan information technology projects, he said.

The Alliance Standards Directory >, open to the public following free registration, addresses the difficulty of identifying which standards have already been created and which organizations are responsible for their creation and maintenance.

The directory provides a centralized reference that eliminates redundant standards development efforts by highlighting the relationships among the many organizations that aim to improve patient safety and quality of care. The directory is maintained by the Alliance staff and is continually updated using feedback from users. Over 400 standards have been added since April.

Piechowski says the directory will come to represent the collective knowledge of the healthcare community.

"While they were certainly the focus of our initial efforts, the directory is not limited to U.S. standards, and we'll continue to develop the directory as a global resource," he said.

The National Alliance for for Health Information Technology is a two-year old Chicago-based partnership of healthcare leaders devoted to leveraging technology to achieve improvements in patient safety. The organization is also developing members-only content that will include detailed summaries and evaluations of the standards listed in the directory.