Making and Adoption of Health Data Standards

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Critical Analysis Paper: The Making and Adoption of Health Data Standards
Health Data Standards (HDS) are a key part of the construction of a National Health Information Network (NHIN). Having these standards will increase interoperability of various groups and organizations, improve safety, lower costs, and enable providers in all aspects of healthcare to access the same patient medical information easily and efficiently. W. E. Hammond (2005), discusses the urgent need for HDS, the process of creating these standards, problems and issues regarding the development and implementation of these standards, and he suggests possible solutions to these issues.

According to Hammond (2005), HDS are crucial to building an interchange of health data between different sites involved in patient care, building a population database for public health surveillance and bioterrorism defense, creating a network of personal health records and a regional health network, and the development of a “patient centric” electronic health record. Interoperability is discussed as the goal of the development of HDS. Interoperability is the ability of different organizations, structures, and systems to work together and communicate; sharing information, by using common words and data elements. These common data elements; such as medications, measurements, or lab tests, must be in the same “language” for different systems to be able to access them. Hammond suggests, however, that no one has been able to define the data standards necessary for the development of a functional NHIN. No successful resolution or plan has been put into place to create a system of data standards in the United States. Although there are standards that exist, there is no nationwide coordination of these standards which would make them useful.

HDS are created for the benefit of patients, vendors, healthcare organizations, the government, and society in general. Hammond (2005) relates these standards to...
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