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For Immediate Release

ONC Announces New Project to Harmonize Standards that Support Meaningful Use of EHR Systems

February 20, 2011 --

Today the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced the launch of an industry project to consolidate and harmonize required health information exchange specifications that support meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems.

The project, called the "HL7/IHE Health Story Implementation Guide Consolidation Project," 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 will consolidate 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 will address minor areas of ambiguity within the specific Standards Final Rule requirement to implement HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) Release 2, Continuity of Care Document according to HITSP C32.

ONC's Office of Standards and Interoperability (S&I) will host the volunteer effort within its S&I Framework and facilitate the project through HL7 and IHE with support of its contractors. "This is the perfect opportunity to leverage the S&I Framework to convene stakeholders that are engaged in the standards harmonization process," said Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD, director of the Office of S&I in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. "This important initiative will help the country move one step closer to achieving simple, standards-based nationwide interoperability."

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 will contribute volunteers. "We took a leap of faith three years ago in taking the lead to develop exchange standards for common types of clinical documents based on HL7 CDA," said Liora Alschuler, project coordinator, 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. "We are thrilled that our work will prove valuable in addressing the call for key clinical information to be exchanged among providers and made available from providers to patients."

The project team will work toward rapid publication of the consolidated package of standards in May 2011. "We are able to move quickly, in part, due to our common desire to make the standards, profiles and implementation guides available to support national meaningful use requirements," said Joyce Sensmeier, RN, president, IHE USA. "This effort is a natural extension of the ongoing collaboration between IHE and HL7 to drive the adoption of standards-based electronic health record systems in support of optimal clinical care."

"With this project we can make it easier for vendors and providers to adopt the required standards to support health information exchange," said Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, chief executive officer, HL7 International. "We are pleased that through HL7 we can offer a transparent and open process for this standards harmonization work."

For more information and/or to get involved, please visit the project Wiki site. The project will also be a topic of discussion at the HIMSS11 Annual Conference & Exhibition, hosted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society February 20-24, 2011 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida:

  • Monday, February 21, 1:00-1:30 PM, "HL7 and Meaningful Use," HL7 Exhibit Booth #5863, Dr. Charles Jaffe, CEO, HL7
  • Monday, February 21, 3:40-4:10 PM, "CDA and CCD for Patient Summaries," HL7 Exhibit Booth #5863, Bob Dolin, MD, Chair, HL7, President & CMO, Lantana Consulting Group
  • Tuesday, February 22, 11:45 AM-12:05 PM, "Health Story Project: Exchange Basic Records and Meet Early Meaningful Use Requirements," Interoperability Showcase #7343, Bob Dolin, MD, Chair, HL7, President & CMO, Lantana Consulting Group
  • Tuesday, February 22, 4:40 - 5:10 PM, "Standards, Harmonization and Interoperability - IHE Update," HL7 Exhibit Booth #5863, Erin Spamon, Senior Project Manager, ECRI
  • Tuesday, February 22, 2:40-3:10 PM, "Templated CDA," HL7 Exhibit Booth #5863, Bob Dolin, MD, Chair, HL7, President & CMO, Lantana Consulting Group
  • Wednesday, February 23, 9:40-10:10 AM, "HL7 and Meaningful Use," HL7 Exhibit Booth #5863, Dr. Charles Jaffe, CEO, HL7
  • Wednesday, February 23, 12:20-12:50 PM, "CDA and CCD for Patient Summaries," HL7 Exhibit Booth #5863, Bob Dolin, MD, Chair, HL7, President & CMO, Lantana Consulting Group
  • Wednesday, February 23, 4:15-4:35 PM, "The Collaboration Paradigm - Making Standards Meaningful," IHE Exhibit Booth #7343, Dr. Charles Jaffe, CEO, HL7

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.

About the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
For more information, please visit http://healthhit.hhs.gov.

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For more information contact:
Joy Kuhl              
The Health Story Project             
joy@optimalaccords.com