The role of standards in creating a health information infrastructure.
In the belief that the existence of a variety of standards is an absolute necessity for health care professional workstations to work, this paper provides a detailed overview of the standards efforts of a number of groups. According to the International Standards Organization (ISO) Reference Model, workstations require a full level of standards from the physical level through and beyond the applications level. Rapidly changing technology challenges acceptance of standards at the lower levels. Current recommendations include fiberoptic media using certain protocols. Other standards in these lower levels also have support. At the applications level, data messaging standards are being developed by six groups. The consensus standards body for the United States is coordinating the efforts of these groups in order to produce a harmonized effort, and is coordinating the effort with Europe for an international effort. Work on the development of the full set of standards necessary for workstation implementations is lagging. Accelerating the process is mandatory if we are to achieve the necessary seamless interoperability required by workstations for ubiquitous intelligent communications between the workstations and the sources of data.
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