In July 2021, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released version 2 of the United States Core for Data Interoperability, a standardized set of health data classes and constituent data elements. Now ONC has launched an initiative called USCDI+ to support the identification and establishment of domain- or program-specific datasets that will operate as extensions to the existing USCDI.
In a blog post on their website, ONC executives described USCDI+ as a service that ONC will provide to federal partners who have a need to establish, harmonize, and advance the use of interoperable datasets that extend beyond the core data in the USCDI in order to meet agency-specific programmatic requirements. This approach, they said, would assure that extensions build from the same USCDI foundation and create the opportunity for aligning similar data needs across agency programs.
USCDI+ efforts for quality measurement and public health are starting with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more will be added once the program is more firmly established. The USCDI+ process will follow the same basic principles used for the USCDI, but with some additional components including:
- A discovery process and charter;
- Identification of use cases, data specifications, and agency programmatic incentives/requirements for use of any specific USCDI+ dataset;
- Evaluation of data classes/elements according to objective criteria, such as industry priority and readiness, level of standards maturity, and identified agency need.
This program, ONC officials say, is another way they are embracing their “coordinator” role. It will help the federal government more effectively use taxpayer dollars in health IT activities and will benefit industry with better alignment of data standards across federal programs.