HL7, IHE and the Health Story Project Encourage HL7 Ballot Participation: Proposed Standards to Support Meaningful Use of EHR Systems

HL7, IHE and the Health Story Project encourage review and comment on proposed health information exchange specifications that support meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems.

The proposed specifications are the result of an industry project, the “HL7/IHE Health Story Implementation Guide Consolidation Project,” which is a collaboration of Health Level Seven (HL7) International, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and the Health Story Project.  Working through the HL7 standards development organization, volunteers consolidated exchange standards for eight common types of clinical documents along with the HL7 Continuity of Care Document (CCD) standard into one comprehensive implementation package that establishes a foundation for health information exchange.  Through the consolidation and harmonization effort, the project addressed minor areas of ambiguity within the specific Standards Final Rule requirement to implement the HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) Release 2, Continuity of Care Document according to HITSP/C32.

ONC’s Office of Standards and Interoperability (S&I) hosted the volunteer effort within its S&I Framework and facilitated the project through HL7 and IHE with support of its contractors.

In addition to securing support from the ONC S&I Framework, HL7, the Health Story Project and IHE, a number of EHR, clinical document management, infrastructure, middleware and natural language processing vendors contributed volunteers.  “This project caps over five years of strong volunteer efforts within HL7, IHE, Health Story and ONC,” said Liora Alschuler, co-chair of the HL7 Structured Documents Work Group and a co-founder of the Health Story Project, which is aimed at integration of the full patient story within EHR systems.  “The consolidation into a single, cohesive set of structured templates is a huge step forward for interoperability in the U.S.”

“The project provides a great example of how foundational standards efforts can be leveraged to meet today’s interoperability needs,” said Joyce Sensmeier, RN, president, IHE USA. “It is rewarding to see this harmonization work move forward so quickly to make implementation-ready tools available for wide-spread industry adoption.”

“We are pleased that HL7 was able to participate in a transparent and open process for this standards harmonization work. The results of the initial activity were extremely encouraging,” said Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, CEO, HL7 International. “The HL7 ballot is now open, and we encourage all stakeholders to participate in this industry-wide project. It is our hope that these documents receive wide review and feedback. We look forward to broad collaboration in the refinement of these documents, ultimately creating quality standards that support meaningful use.”

Those interested in participating in the HL7 ballot must sign up for the ballot pool on the HL7 web site by May 2.  Ballots are due May 9. Instructions for participating are available at http://www.hl7.org/participate/onlineballoting.cfm?ref=nav.  A webinar overview about the Consolidation Project that includes ballot instructions is available on the Health Story Project web site at http://www.healthstory.com/news/news.htm.

For more information and/or to get involved in future project work, please visit the project Wiki site at http://jira.siframework.org/wiki/display/SIF/CDA+Consolidation+Project.
About HL7 International
Founded in 1987, Health Level Seven International is the global authority for healthcare Information interoperability and standards with affiliates established in more than 30 countries.  HL7 is a non-profit, ANSI accredited standards development organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services. HL7’s more than 2,300 members represent approximately 500 corporate members, which include more than 90 percent of the information systems vendors serving healthcare. HL7 collaborates with other standards developers and provider, payer, philanthropic and government agencies at the highest levels to ensure the development of comprehensive and reliable standards and successful interoperability efforts.  For more information, please visit: www.HL7.org.

About Health Story
The Health Story Project was founded a little over three years ago by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Lantana Consulting Group, the Medical Transcription Industry Association (MTIA), and M*Modal. It is now a collaborative of over two dozen healthcare vendors, providers and associations. Health Story accelerates development of HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) Implementation Guides for common types of electronic healthcare documents, brings them through the HL7 ballot process and promotes their adoption within the industry. Over the previous three years, the initiative supported the development of eight technical implementation guides for standard electronic documents, including the Consultation Note, Diagnostic Imaging Report, Discharge Summary, History and Physical, Operative Note, Procedure Note, Progress Note and Unstructured Documents. Health Story Promoter members include A-Life Medical, Emdat, Fujitsu, GE Medical, InfraWare, MedQuist, Nuance, Osmosyz, 3M and Verizon.  For more information, please visit: www.healthstory.com.

About IHE
IHE USA is a not for profit organization founded in 2010 that operates as a deployment committee of IHE International®. The mission of IHE USA is to drive adoption of standards-based interoperability to improve patient care through innovation, standards profiling, testing, education and collaboration. IHE USA improves the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery by supporting the deployment of standards-based electronic health record systems, facilitating the exchange of health information among care providers, both within the enterprise and across care settings, and enabling local, regional and nationwide health information networks in the United States, all in a manner consistent with participation in the activities of IHE International, Inc.  For more information, please visit: www.iheusa.org.