Design Principles

Key design principles for Open Specifications

Specifications are fundamental to the success of the envisioned claims data exchange. In order to ensure that they can act as this common foundation, this section proposes design principles for the open specifications in line with basic principles outlined in the National Digital Health Blueprint.


Specifications must be designed to be open to support technology and promote vendor neutrality. They must be published under the most unrestricted license (Creative Commons or MIT license) as applicable to enable wider ecosystem participation and foster innovation through extensibility. Being open also helps leverage wider ecosystem expertise at the time of designing and evolving the specifications.

Evolvable and Extendable

They must be designed to be evolvable over a period of time thereby helping adapt to changing needs. By being extendable they provide ecosystems with the capability to leverage these specifications for their context while maintaining interoperability.

Minimalistic and Inclusive

Minimalism is crucial to ensuring that specifications enable and do not restrict innovation or inclusion.

Balance data privacy and security with data empowerment

They must provide for the mechanisms to keep the data secure (e.g. mandating SSL for data in transit, requiring relevant data to be encrypted) and private (e.g. consent-based data access) while still allowing for mechanisms to exchange needed information between trusted parties.

Provide for non-repudiability

They must provide mechanisms to view and verify attribute trails - who accessed or updated what and when - through mechanisms like digital signatures and tamper-proof audit trails.


They should strive to break down the complexity of the domain into multiple simple pieces thereby resulting in multiple simple specifications which can be bundled in a modular manner to suit the needed context and help solve dynamic challenges.

Questions for Consultation

Question 1

Please share your thoughts on the comprehensiveness of the design principles outlined, and suggest methods to ensure these principles are adhered to. Please suggest if there are other principles that must be included and how are they going to help with the design of Open Specifications.

Instructions to send responses to the consultation questions are available here.

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