The Office of the National Coordinator has launched the HL7/IHE Health Story Implementation Guide Consolidation Project, an initiative to consolidate and harmonize required health information exchange specifications that support meaningful use of electronic health record systems.

Project collaborators include the Health Level Seven International standards development organization, the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise industry stakeholder initiative and the Health Story Project, an industry collaborative that develops technical implementation guides for electronic documents transmitted using HL7 standards.

Volunteer participants will consolidate exchange standards for eight common types of clinical documents along with the HL7 Continuity of Care Document standard into a single implementation package that establishes a foundation for health information exchange. The project also will address minor areas of ambiguity within the specific meaningful use requirement to implement HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) Release 2, Continuity of Care Document according to HITSP C32 specifications.  

Electronic health records, clinical document management, infrastructure, middleware and natural language processing vendors will contribute volunteers to the initiative.

ONC’s Office of Standards and Interoperability will host the volunteer effort. "This important initiative will help the country move one step closer to achieving simple, standards-based nationwide interoperability,” says Doug Fridsma, M.D., director of the Office of S&I at ONC.

The goal is to have a consolidated package of standards in May 2011. “With this project we can reduce many of the barriers encountered by vendors and providers as they adopt the required standards supporting health information exchange,” said Charles Jaffe, MD, CEO at HL7.

More details and an opportunity to volunteer are available here.

--Joseph Goedert


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