Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has 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. 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.
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.”