July 12, 2010 – Health Level Seven Intl. (HL7), a non-profit standards development organization, has submitted comments emphasizing the need for strong health informatics standards to the European Union’s recent public open consultation on the review of the European Standardization System.
The aim of the open consultation is to gain an understanding of stakeholders’ view on the review of the European Standardization System and to gather opinions and suggestions on the potential avenues the European Commission should explore in order to shape concrete proposals. While the use of standards remains voluntary, the European Union has, since the mid-1980s, increasingly made use of open standards in support of its policies and legislation.
The response of HL7 highlighted the need for robust standards against which conformance can be tested and asserted. In its comments, HL7 notes the importance of widely and consistently adopting standards for health informatics and identifies the major barriers to the adoption of these standards published by the European Committee for Standardization, including:
• Cost of obtaining the standard;
• Lack of supporting education;
• Lack of conformance criteria to test against;
• Lack of relevant standards; and
• Limited engagement in standards development, especially by small and medium sized businesses.
HL7 recommends that International Organization of Standardization, European Standards Organizations and National Standards Organizations work in partnership with the member states and the standards development organizations with domain-specific expertise, such as HL7 and International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization. This form of public-private partnership is likely to have the capacity to both develop and publish standards suitable for large-scale adoption throughout the market. Additionally, such collaboration would likely promote the quicker development of robust standards without duplication of efforts.
For more information: www.HL7.org