Standards are a necessary precondition for data sharing, linkage, and interoperability. However, only compatible, non-duplicative standards that simultaneously serve clinical, administrative, public health surveillance, and health statistics purposes will permit the kind of information systems and decision-making that are envisioned for the future. \l
The last decade has seen a proliferation of standards for relatively narrow purposes, and in some cases conflicting standards for a single purpose. This multiplicity is an impediment to developing an integrated and efficient information infrastructure.
Standards are still needed in many areas¾for example, administrative data for monitoring care provided by health plans and public health personnel; race/ethnicity classifications; definitions of households; and geocoding. Both modification of existing standards and development of new ones should be governed by the principle of serving multiple purposes.