As more IEPDs are being developed and their respective information exchanges are successfully implemented, agencies requiring similar exchanges can utilize proven IEPDs as a starting point for their own IEPD life cycle development and implementation. Some national organizations create standardized exchange models that enable their exchange partners to minimize development time, thus recognizing significant economies of scale and associated cost savings. In other cases, agencies establish IEPD repositories and encourage other agencies to leverage their work by using Alerting or CAD-to-RMS IEPDs as a base and customizing or augmenting the exchanges and the IEPD documentation to reflect specific business requirements and vendor database configurations.
One of the best examples of the reuse of an implemented exchange standard based on an IEPD is the one built for the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The PMP established a national service model IEPD that will be used to exchange controlled substance prescription information between states' PMP information systems. The same XML model will be utilized by each state, so participating states that share prescription information collected from pharmacies can implement the same exchange data model while still maintaining their specific state data sharing requirements. The IEPD was built to accommodate different XML vocabulary standards to enable reuse by law enforcement, public health agencies and the pharmaceutical industry.
"The PMP's exchange IEPD provides a focal point around which cost-effective interstate exchanges can be developed, which has magnified the value of newly developed PMP exchange capabilities," says Scott Serich, IJIS Institute's PMP program manager. "It also has freed up scarce IT resources to focus on the user-facing system features that are perceived by the public as delivering higher value for their tax dollars."
By removing confusion through a standardized means of communicating exchange specifications and requirements, it is easier to estimate, plan and execute an information exchange project. An IEPD provides and establishes a business and technical "contract" that all parties abide by for the purpose of exchanging information. Information exchanges based on an IEPD standard are easier to maintain and augment by any qualified vendor or maintenance supplier. Such standardized documentation reduces exploration time in identifying a problem or in adding new information requirements to the exchange.
In 2007 and beyond, IT managers and vendors whose systems will be required to exchange information with local, state and federal systems can expect the following trends to have an impact on their work and funding:
- Planning, developing, implementing and expanding use of statewide IEPD repositories that define all information exchanges with a state criminal justice system such as those in New Jersey, California, Vermont, Wisconsin and Ohio.
- Planning, developing, implementing and expanding use of national criminal justice programs that use specific information records types such as the PMP and N-DEx.
- Use of IEPDs as a requirement to receive funding from DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security for information exchange.
- Possible institutionalization of the IEPD methodology and documentation into the Federal Data Architecture and NIEM.
- Information exchange software providers and consultants expanding their products and services to include and support IEPDs.
- Further expansion of the use of IEPDs in other government information domains, including public health, transportation, emergency services and homeland security.
By utilizing IEPDs, departments will more readily be able to navigate the information exchange bottleneck.