Health IT Standards – A tale of two countries

Today I am listening to the webcasts for two different health IT standards initiatives, one in the US and one in Canada.  I was struck by a fundamental difference in approaches.  The US is working hard to develop national health IT standards whereas Canada appears to be more focused on provincial standards.

eHealth Ontario, for example, has started the review process for an eReferral standard.  On the webcast today eHealth Ontario noted that a pan-Canadian standard exists but, for various reasons, a distinct Ontario standard is needed.  Do we really need multiple pan-Canadian standards for eReferrals?   Perhaps I am missing some fundamental driving factors and would very much like to be enlightened if I am.  I just can’t see that the cost of developing and maintaining multiple standards is worth the benefit but stand to be corrected.

Mike

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