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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why invest in HealthIT Standards

Karen Bartelson is one of my favorite writers on the topic of standards development. She recently wrote a four part post on her blog on "Standards: Why we do it."
  1. Growing the Market
  2. Technology Leadership
  3. Collaborating with Experts
  4. Enabling Innovation
I occasional teach a class on the value of standards, here are a few quips from it:
  • Standards enable competition and grow the market
  • Standards enable specialization (innovation)
  • Standards reduce design cost and quality of interfaces is typically better, design review is better
Great minds think alike.  Karen also wrote a great book about standards development called the 10 Commandments for Effective Standards which I reviewed a couple of years ago.  It's on the reading list for my class, and I'll be adding those recent posts to that list when I next update it.

There are four different stakeholders in the development of standards (I distinguish purchasers from end-users because the purchaser of a product is often not the end user, especially in business settings.)

  • Manufacturers of products that must adhere to standards.  
  • Purchasers of products that adhere to standards.
  • End-Users of products that adhere to standards.
  • Consumers of products and services that benefit from standardization. 
Each one of them gains by participation in the development of standards.  Manufacturers gain because the standards grow the market, lower development costs, and enable innovation.  Purchasers gain because they can obtain easily measurable products of high quality and good cost.  End users gain because they can obtain a wider variety (innovation again) of high quality products.  And the real benefit is to the consumers of products and services because of the reduced cost and greater quality and variety of goods and services that standards enable.


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