USCDIv2 Published: New Standards to Advance Interoperability

USCDIv2 Published: New Standards to Advance Interoperability

USCDIv2 interoperability

The benefits and advantages of health care standards are many, hence how many national organizations are focused on the establishment and evolution of specifications. Today’s interoperability standards are more than a single entity proposing a set of guidelines and pushing its adoption. Rather, today’s standards are built on collaboration from interdisciplinary parties to meet shared aims. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) recent publication of the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) Version 2 is a great example. So, let’s dive in to know more about the updated standards that will dominant the health care market.

What Changed

In January 2021, ONC published the Draft Version of USCDIv2 and we covered the proposed changes on our blog shortly thereafter. Since, the USCDI Task Force has reviewed public feedback and engaged with stakeholders to publish the final Version 2 publication in July 2021. The ONC Standards Bulletin 2021-3 describes the process of developing the finalized standards which includes 3 new data classes and 22 new data elements as depicted below.

New data Classes and Elements in USCDI v2

The three new data classes – Clinical Tests, Diagnostic Imaging, Encounter Information – and associated new data elements align to support CMS’s quality improvement and management efforts. With the new additions, the existing standards evolved as well. Redundant elements, like image narrative and laboratory report narrative, were removed and all vocabularies code sets were updated, with v2 now accepting SNOMED CT and ICD-10-CM in the clinical problems to match the two ways clinicians document at the bedside.

In comparison to the Draft version, the above updates were minor, but there is one critical dimension that was newly added since July. The COVID-19 pandemic brought forth the inequalities that exist in our health care system. Before we can successfully provide equitable health care, the data infrastructure supporting our clinicians needs to evolve. Accordingly, within the 22 new data elements that were detailed above, 4 are new Social Determinants of Health data elements. These were not included in the Draft Version 2 that was released earlier this year but prioritized to catapult our industry forward to provide more equitable health care. 

“The USCDI is not static, it is intended to grow over time as standards mature and users’ needs evolve.” ONC Standards Bulletin 2021-3

What’s Next

“ONC’s annual feedback cycle offers the ability to iteratively expand USCDI in the ways necessary to improve interoperable health information exchange.. ONC is currently accepting new submissions for changes to be considered for USCDI Version 3 with a deadline of September 30th, 2021.

The health care system is quickly evolving, and seamless interoperability is needed to empower clinicians to provide high quality, affordable health care. In such an environment, we need standards that enable rather than slow things down. KPI Ninja is committed to staying at the forefront of these standards to build more useful technology that provides value and supports industry advancement.


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: , , , , , , , ,