Guest Post: The Long Term Fate of CCD

The following is part of an email interaction I had with an EHR vendor about the future of CCD. Of course, I can never let strong opinions go unpublished. So I asked if I could put this on my site. I have a feeling there will be many people who have a different view of CCD and how these standards will play out. I’d certainly be happy to publish an opposing view as well. My contact page is here. I’m interested to hear other view points on the subject.

Stage 1 MU allowed either CCR or CCD. Stage 2, and the short term efforts will require CCD. The jury is still out on what Stage 3 of MU will focus upon. Many at the ONC can see that the CCD will never have the flexibility to deliver. These are largely the same people that facilitated the Direct Project initiatives.

I still predict that it is inevitable that the data will become uncoupled from unwieldy, anachronistic document structures. That will be the only means to get to true information portability that can deliver patient-centric use of the information. The CCD will still be around for a while to come, just as CD’s are still around for music sharing. For now, we have to have the CCD to preserve legacy, industry-centric control of the information.

John Halamka has a couple of recent posts that do a good job of explaining what is evolving…. and . Both of these contain links to some very interesting information. When the ONC proceeded to issue an advanced notice of rulemaking, the industry power elites became enraged.

Technology delivering to patients will eventually win out just as the open-platform WWW won out over proprietary CompuServe. Once we have a means to truly exchange the content without the overhead associated with the CCD/RIM crap, we will see a revolution in healthcare similar to the social networking phenomenon.

Again, the whole CCD/CDA will stick around to support legacy information needs, but it will eventually be largely eclipsed by more straight-forward solutions that don’t require a team of consultants and IT engineers to implement.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I’m so glad I ran across your blog post. In it I see “I still predict that it is inevitable that the data will become uncoupled from unwieldy, anachronistic document structures.”

    I have an advanced system that provides the newest most flexible way to handle data and data delivery. The question is how do I get it in front of practitioners so they don’t waste money on the decades old stuff that is being offered today?

  • Rich,
    How to market something is often the million dollar question. Are you trying to market an EHR to practitioners or are you trying to market a data structure or are you trying to market a transport mechanism? It’s not clear to me what you really want to do.

  • Based on XML…sure, but not XML.

    Too many changes, version incompatibilities, etc make a standard not standard.

    People wonder why some things are so complex…its because so many people stick their hands in the project with “great idea” that things become overly complex.

    Health data is no different than other data…so why create a new standard?

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