Standards Development – Lessons Learned

I was pulling together some background information on eHealth standards development in the US for a client when I came across the following presentation by Douglas Fridsma,Acting Director, Office of Interoperability & Standards ONC

I thought that Mr. Fridsma’s “lessons learned” from his standards development experiences are worth sharing:

  • Standards are not imposed, they are adopted
    • To improve adoption, solve real problems, not abstract ones
    • Engage the community for a sense of ownership
  • Standards should be harmonized and commissioned based on clearly articulated priorities
    • Governance is necessary to coordinate and prioritize
  • Adoption is accelerated by tools including vocabulary registries and easy to use sources for implementation guidance.
    • Tools improve adoption
    • Make implementation specifications easy to use and, well, specific
  • Keep it as a simple as possible but no simpler – the parsimony principle
    • Don’t boil the ocean
    • Solve real focused, problems
  • Perfection is the enemy of the good
    • Iteratively improve


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