Interoperability Alert: Aligning to ONC’s Draft USCDI v2

Interoperability Alert: Aligning to ONC’s Draft USCDI v2

Shifts in standards can lead to transformative shifts in interoperability.

There are plenty of bumps on the road to interoperability, but the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) is a pioneering vocabulary standard that addresses one of the more significant pain points to seamless data exchange.

While there are well defined data exchange standards like HL7v2, CCD, FHIR that enable the exchange of health data, the information that lives within these files varies greatly depending upon the source system – which becomes the barrier that works against interoperability goals. Can you imagine being a physician reviewing a patient’s CCDA that was successfully aggregated from the region’s providers only to discover a LOINC® code that you need to guide your clinical decision making is not in the CCDA, even though it was available in the source system?

This is where the value of USCDI vocabulary standards come into play.

Addressing the Information Gap

There are many interoperability standards, like CCDA and FHIR, that set the structure for how data is to be shared. The mechanical specifications so to speak – how one system talks to another in a common way. But USCDI is different, as unlike other standards, it specifies what information should be shared. It is the content specifications – the minimum information that should be available for exchange.

Combined, these standards provide a powerful framework for the next level of interoperability.

USCDI v1 Compliance

The USCDI is a vocabulary standard that includes a specified set of data classes and data elements. The original USCDI was published on May 1st, 2020 – the same day as the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule (CMS Final Rule). USCDI v1 was adopted as part of the CMS Final Rule and we are supporting our clients to comply with these new standards to exchange data to payer consumers using FHIR resources via APIs.

USCDI v2 Proposed Updates

More recently, on January 12th, 2021, the Draft USCDI v2 was released. Comments are being accepted until April and the final publication is scheduled for July 2021.

The Draft USCDI v2 sets out to advance interoperability by focusing on areas with maximum impact while balancing the burden of additional development. To give you an example, let’s take a quick look at one change that is being proposed. An area of clinical importance is the “Problems” Data Class – which provides information about conditions, diagnoses, other clinical events. USCDI v1 specifies the use of SNOMED CT® as the minimum requirement to maintain within this section, whereas USCDI v2 proposes to add two new Data Elements, “Date of Diagnosis” and “Date of Resolution” to the existing standard.

information about a condition, diagnosis, or other event, situation, issue, or clinical concept that is documented. Data Element. Applicable Standards.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (January 2021). United States Core Data for Interoperability: Draft Version 2.

While some argue that current USCDI standards are only a modest expansion of the Common Clinical Data Set, we here at KPI Ninja take a different perspective. Every day we witness how greatly the data varies within standard file formats and the negative impact it has on providers and care teams. We feel the USCDI standards, and the expansion of them, are addressing a core interoperability problem and because of that, will be an essential component to tackle on the interoperability journey for seamless data consumption. This is precisely why we have already implemented the Draft USCDI v2 specifications and will continue to stay up to date with the emerging standards to best support you.

If you want market-leading technology that supports your interoperability, care coordination and population health efforts, you could use numerous different vendors to meet the different needs. Or you could simply get it all from a single vendor, KPI Ninja. Set up a call with us today to learn how our interoperability-enabled, comprehensive analytic platform can support all of your evolving health data use cases.


Renee Towne

About the Author
Renee Towne
Director of Quality Programs at KPI Ninja, Inc.
Renee provides operational leadership of quality initiatives at KPI Ninja. Towne has a background in occupational therapy, education and experience in operational excellence across a variety of healthcare domains. Based on prior experience as a clinician that drove outcomes patient by patient, she is leaving a larger footprint by improving health care more comprehensively, population by population.


About KPI Ninja
KPI Ninja is a data analytics company that helps healthcare organizations accelerate their quality, safety, and financial goals with a unique combination of software and service. We are differentiated by our signature mix of technology, performance management consulting and healthcare expertise. We don’t merely offer software solutions but work shoulder to shoulder with clients to help them draw on the power of analytics and continuous improvement methodologies to become more efficient. In harmony with our data-centered ethos, we truly believe that our success is strongly co-related with yours.

Tags: , , , , , ,