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Health Information Technology

Health Information Technology



The demand for online medical information and simplified, standardized methods to access healthcare information and services is crucial in making healthcare safe and available to all.Appropriate standards for healthcare information and systems provide the cornerstone to achieving a 'healthy' healthcare infrastructure. This project seeks to contribute to the healthcare industry by advancing healthcare information standards that are complete and testable and by providing the necessary conformance tests, tests tools and techniques where appropriate.

Industry Need Addressed

Standards are vital to healthcare systems and the deployment of information technologies for healthcare.This has led to a flurry of standards development and deployment activities by numerous standards developing organizations, consortia, trade associations, government agencies, and individual companies.The range of healthcare standards run a wide gamut and spans several tiers of the healthcare industry.There is a real need for formal and informal coordination of these efforts to leverage the synergy of the various efforts, to harmonize vocabularies, to enable interoperability, and to promote consistent testing and certification programs across and within organizations.

NIST/ITL Approach

NIST/ITL is collaborating with industry, healthcare informatics-related standards organizations, consortia, and government agencies to build tools and prototypes to advance the adoption of IT within healthcare systems.In particular, NIST/ITL researchers are:

  • Collaborating with Health Level Seven (HL7) to help ensure that HL7 messaging and EHR systems' conformance can be defined and measured at an appropriate level.
  • Providing technical leadership on Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) projects, in particular the Cross Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) Profile and medical device-related profiles.
  • Providing technical leadership to build a common web-based tool set that integrates testing tools/activities of various SDOs, consortia and other organizations.
  • Providing technical leadership on the development, selection, and implementation of security specifications to enable secure communication of health information.
  • Collaborating with the HHS's Office of the National Coordinator on meaningful use conformance tooling and with CMS to provide guidance on the HIPAA Security Rule.
  • Actively participating in the ONC Standards Committee, HL7, IEEE 11073, and the American Telemedicine Association to pursue these efforts.


The creation of a 'healthy' healthcare information infrastructure in the US depends on all parties involved; consumers, providers, researchers and insurers having systems, tools, and information that are complete, correct, secure and interoperable.The basis for achieving this rests with the availability of healthcare information standards that are complete and testable.The efforts of NIST/ITL in supporting meaningful use testing can help move these standards and their implementation and acceptance forward.

Created July 8, 2015, Updated August 25, 2016