Monday, January 10, 2011

An Aid to Survey the River of Clinical Information

Recently, I’ve had discussions with many people in the HIT industry about the future direction for Meaningful Use (MU), especially about exchanging clinical information. It’s clear that Stage 1 is only the start of a journey, and that increasingly robust sets of clinical information will need to be exchanged. However, such exchanges need to be helpful rather than burdensome, and much work needs to occur to figure out how to display what’s significant, accurate, reconciled, and usable for clinicians and patients (see my recent blog series Part 1, Part 2, Finale).

I’m sharing a spreadsheet (a work in progress) showing a library of standardized reusable data sections and comparing many types of electronic clinical documents/records, including the two most “famous” that are required in Meaningful Use Stage 1, CCD and CCR. This spreadsheet may eventually be published in a more final form from an organization, but even now it may be useful to you if you have any of these questions:
  • What must be shared in Stage 1 as a clinical summary with providers and/or patients? (See spreadsheet columns B and D green cells)
  • Are certification and MU clinical summaries the same? There are some interesting differences that can be found between the standards for certification and the language for meaningful use (See column A and the CMS FR – Clinical Summary tab).
  • What’s the difference between a full C32 and what’s required in Stage 1 certification? Quite a bit, actually! (See column D, white check marks)
  • What data are not included in CCR and CCD but might be desirable to share in the future? (See all rows and columns). Stage 1 requires only the most commonly requested clinical summary data (meds, allergies, problems, results, etc.).
  • How much reusability exists among today’s electronic clinical documents? (See column Q, which also indicates which sections are most often used). There are worthy efforts afoot to improve commonality and reduce divergence, such as the ONC sponsored CDA Consolidation Project
Here’s my compulsory “liquid” or “music” analogy of the day. A mighty rushing river is growing, of clinical information and the standards thereof. I hope my high-level spreadsheet serves as an aid, a “Bridge Over Troubled Water” where you can safely survey the river before you plunge in. Although I created this spreadsheet, with plenty of review from Health Story and EHRA members, I’m far from being the authority on clinical documents. Robin Raiford did wonderful work on a similar spreadsheet in 2009, which was actually more detailed, but was limited to HITSP CDA documents and preceded the ONC Final Rules. I recommend that you read the original specs, and follow Keith Boone’s blog and his upcoming CDA book.

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