The EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup, a group of states and vendors focused on eliminating the barriers to sharing electronic health records (EHRs), recently issued a set of technical specifications to standardize connections between health care providers, health information exchanges (HIEs), and other data-sharing partners.

The objective of the workgroup is to define a single set of standardized, easy-to-implement connections to increase the adoption of EHRs and HIE services. The effort leveraged existing published standards for interoperability from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). The specifications aim to remove impediments that make it difficult for EHRs to connect to HIEs.

The first set of specifications focuses on two use cases and the detailed data and metadata specification for a compliant Continuity of Care Document. The first use case, Statewide Send and Receive Patient Record Exchange, describes how encrypted health information can be transmitted over the internet. The second, the Statewide Patient Data Inquiry Service Use Case, describes the clinician’s ability to query an HIE for relevant data on a specific patient.