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