EHR Vendors and ONC Need to Rebrand CCD

A really interesting point came out of the discussion in the comments of my post titled “What Information an HIE Should Pass?” Here’s one of my responses:

I think what you describe is that the branding of the CCD isn’t right for doctors. Instead of saying that they can get a CCD document from a doctor which sounds technical and scary they need to hear that they’re going to get an “Electronic Note” transferred from a doctor. If in reality that’s a CCD document that gets converted into a beautifully displayed “note” for the doctor, they don’t really care. That’s semantics which don’t matter to them. Your “football” naming goes towards these same lines, but I think that actually naming it a “football” will confuse doctors more. It works great as a way to describe what’s happening, but they’d get lost wondering how football had to do with a note. I actually think this is an important point that’s worthy of its own blog post.

Of course this discussion is really about branding and communication. It’s not about the technical details of a CCD (Continuity of Care Document) document (That’s a topic for another discussion). I believe the problem probably lies in the fact that most of the technical people I know behind standards like CCD are more worried about the technical details and don’t realize the importance of how those technical details translate for those not entrenched in the standards creation.

Most of them know the ins and outs of CCD so well that many probably don’t realize that those outside of the standards creation really don’t have a clue of the realities of what CCD will do for them. Even just saying the name CCD starts the confusion for many. Certainly there are exceptions to this, but most doctors couldn’t care less about the standards details.

Here’s something a physician understands:
Your physician notes are being transferred to another doctor.
You’re receiving physician notes from another doctor.

What they have a hard time processing is:
You can send a CCD document to another doctor.
You’ve got a CCD document from another doctor.

Sure, there are subtle nuances between physician note and CCD, but those can be communicated as well. Maybe physician note isn’t the exact right word either, but I think it gets closer to communicating what’s really happening then saying a CCD document.

Regardless, we need to do a better job communicating what’s happening. I know a lot of doctors that would love to transfer a physician note. I don’t know many that care about CCD documents.

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.


  • Tech folks don’t generally communicate well, but docs aren’t always great communicators either.

    Docs deal with details & abbreviation that would make anyone’s head spin.

    To think they can’t grasp that CCD passes details patient information is an insult.

    If the CCD actually worked well, then the name wouldn’t matter.

    This is not to say there couldn’t be a better name.

  • John Brewer,
    I love how your whole comment argues against it, and then you say agree that there could be a better name.

    I’m not saying that docs couldn’t learn it, but I’m sure you’ve seen the same eye rolls I have when you saying something which sounds technical like CCD. Their aversion to technology meter kicks in and it’s hard to get them back.

Click here to post a comment