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U.S. Federal Health Data Solutions in the Era of Interoperability

[fa icon="calendar'] May 25, 2021 4:30:17 PM / by Will Rosenfeld posted in FHIR, HL7, HL7 community, interoperability, SMART on FHIR, Clinical Quality Language, COVID-19, public health, CQL

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Federal health agencies have entered an era where data interoperability-enabled solutions play a critical role. Government leaders can harness the innovative and proven capabilities referenced in this article to deliver on their essential missions.

Background

In 2020, two major events laid the foundation for this era of interoperability.

 

Pandemic Response: The first was the coronavirus pandemic, which led to unprecedented needs for health data in support of agency missions. Since its start, decision-makers have required more access to and insights from these data (e.g., clinical records, administrative claims, patient experience) than ever before.

 

Interoperability Rules: The second was the finalization of the ONC and CMS-led 21st Century Cures Act interoperability rules. These mandates substantially expanded agencies’ ability to leverage health data solutions (e.g., algorithms, applications, and automation) at scale.

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Spring 2021 CTO Tooling Update

[fa icon="calendar'] May 12, 2021 11:07:30 AM / by Wayne Kubick posted in FHIR, CDA, HL7, health IT, C-CDA, news, tooling, JIRA, Confluence, publishing, UTG, FHIR registry

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Déjà Vu All Over Again

My last tooling update was titled Focus on Finishing. Thus, in homage to the inimitable Yogi Berra, it would be hypocrisy to change focus now. Focus on Finishing is still the principal theme for the year, building on essentialism, my other guiding light, as expressed in the axiom “Do less, better.”

Toward that end, we continue to move ahead with our transition to our core collaboration tool stack and processes based on workflow-driven online forms. As of this writing, we’re completing final improvements to make the online PSS available to all later this spring. We’ll be working to finish automating most other key form-driven processes after that.

In addition, we hope to finish our transition to a new JIRA-based balloting system, which is also being piloted as of this writing. This, together with the recent transition from GForge Tracker and the STU Feedback web page to JIRA, puts all of our specification feedback in one repository moving forward.

While finishing our transition for balloting is critically important, we also have to update and replace some peripheral systems supporting the balloting process for members, as well as our core business systems for managing membership, events and operations. While we don’t expect to complete this transition to a new Association Management System before the end of 2021, we’ll be focused on finishing this as rapidly as possible since it’s an essential foundation to further systems improvements for the HL7 organization.

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HL7 International Appoints Three New Members to the Board of Directors

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 17, 2021 5:27:27 PM / by HL7 posted in HL7, HL7 community, health IT, HL7 members

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Health Level Seven® (HL7®) International recently announced the appointment of three new members to the HL7 board of directors to serve a two-year term: Lori Evans Bernstein, MPH, co-founder and president, HealthReveal; Karen DeSalvo, M.D., MPH, chief health officer, Google Health; and Carolyn Petersen, MS, MBI, FAMIA, senior editor, Mayo Clinic.

“These leaders represent a broad spectrum of global stakeholders who are committed to advancing health through information technology. We are delighted to welcome them to the HL7 board of directors,” said Charles Jaffe, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of HL7. “Their strategic expertise and diverse experience will contribute greatly to HL7’s goal of improving the quality of care and reducing costs by overcoming the barriers to interoperability.”

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C-CDA Implementation-A-Thon to Expand Outreach to Engage New Communities

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 1, 2021 3:53:46 PM / by Lisa R. Nelson, MS, MBA posted in CDA, HL7, HL7 community, health IT, C-CDA

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The CDA Management Group (CMG) aims to use the next C-CDA Implementation-A-Thon (IAT) to expand outreach to engage new communities and increase the impact of this content improvement effort.  “We learned so much last year about how to maximize the value of implementer-led implementation-a-thons,” said CMG Co-Chair Lisa Nelson. “The new approach was a step in the right direction. It helped implementers drive the conversation and focus the community on making changes that would yield valuable improvements,” she explained.  

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Winter 2020 CTO Tooling Update

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 11, 2020 12:11:46 PM / by Wayne Kubick posted in FHIR, HL7, health IT, C-CDA, news, tooling, JIRA, Confluence, publishing, UTG, FHIR registry

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Doing Less, but Better

Imagine you’re struggling in a long race – maybe an ultra-marathon over a winding, hilly course. You’ve been running for many hours, and you’re tired, sore and hungry. You’re running up a hill, hoping the end will soon be in sight. But when you get to the top, you only see a turn, not a finish. And after that turn – oh, no! – another hill. We’ve had that feeling during the long pandemic, and, for some of us, we’ve had that feeling even longer with respect to tooling at HL7. We’ve covered a lot of ground, and climbed a lot of hills, and we can feel the end should be in sight very soon. But we’re still running.

Fortunately, we have a team of supporters handing out Gatorade, clapping and cheering us on, and we’ve got our fellow runners pulling us along. And so it is with the HL7 community. We ask a lot of you to help us move forward, with support and understanding; sometimes contributing your valuable time to help us with development or testing, or to struggle patiently with change and the unexpected discoveries of new technology rollouts. While we don’t see that finish line yet, we see plenty of blue skies and greener fields beyond. We won’t always make it on the podium, and sometimes we stumble along the way. But the important thing is to keep moving forward and getting better.

The View from Above

We may not always seem to be progressing very fast, but we’ve really come a long way in the last few years thanks to the important contributions of many of you as well as the ongoing generous support of the US Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), which has funded many of our retooling efforts. To list a few prominent examples:

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Summer 2020 CTO Tooling Update

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 3, 2020 3:09:20 PM / by Wayne Kubick posted in FHIR, HL7, health IT, C-CDA, news, tooling, JIRA, Confluence, publishing, UTG, essentialism, FHIR registry

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Doing Less, but Better

For many of us, this desperate pandemic year has led to plenty of introspection.  This has also been true for the HL7 Board, which has been contemplating the future of the HL7 organization after emerging from the current crisis. Among a set of core principles adopted by the Board are agility and focus. To be agile, we need to simplify and refine the organization and core processes as well as provide support with continued improvements to our tooling. This also requires getting our global community to better understand and use the processes more consistently and effectively, so we can better focus on our core work of developing and implementing interoperability standards.  This a perfect segue back toward my long-held core belief in essentialism.

Back to Basics

I first espoused the concept of essentialism to an enthusiastic Board and Technical Steering Committee back in 2016. While we’ve only made small incremental progress in the four years since, it has been guiding our process improvement and tooling initiatives. Essentialism was a driving force behind our adoption of Confluence and JIRA as well as efforts to simplify our product portfolio. Of course, we operate in a complex field, and there were many confounding forces acting at the same time. The HL7 community is more adept at introducing new processes, tools and content than at retiring or eliminating the old stuff. Thus, our commitment to essentialism faded over time, tempered by inertia and continuing demands, not the least of which has been the black swan events of 2020.

Perhaps it’s time to once again review the key elements of essentialism and discuss how it fits with our ongoing tooling strategy and plans.

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A Special Message from the HL7 CEO and Board Chair

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 10, 2020 10:30:25 AM / by Health Level Seven posted in HL7, HL7 community, interoperability, health IT

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HL7's Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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Policy on the Move: Final Federal Interoperability and Patient Access Rules Information and Impact

[fa icon="calendar'] May 14, 2020 2:11:15 PM / by Ticia Gerber posted in FHIR, HL7, health IT policy, interoperability, health IT, CIMI, news, 21st Century Cures, public health, ONC

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This is a time of great health policy discussion and activity, especially given the challenge of COVID-19 and the finalization of significant federal regulations that will now move into the implementation stage. HL7 and its standards, such as Fast Healthcare Interoperabilty Resources (FHIR®), are a strong fiber in these developments. Discussed here are key aspects of the final interoperability, patient access and information blocking rules recently released related to implementing provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-155). The intersection of policy, HL7 standards and COVID-19 will be highlighted in this space soon. Stay tuned!

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Spring 2020 CTO Tooling Update

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 25, 2020 3:25:10 PM / by Wayne Kubick posted in FHIR, HL7, health IT, C-CDA, news, tooling, JIRA, Confluence, publishing

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Keeping Us Together While Apart

During this time of global crisis, it’s worth remembering the critical importance of what we at HL7 are doing to improve global health by making health information more available and useful. While so many are struggling with social distancing, we already have a culture that long ago learned to work together remotely on our common goals. But now with fewer opportunities to meet together in person, we need to move ahead to finish much of the work we’ve been doing over the past few years – so we’re better prepared to work together even more effectively, while knowing we must be further apart geographically.

 

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Cloud Providers Unite for Healthcare Interoperability

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 30, 2019 12:58:38 PM / by HL7 posted in FHIR, HL7, interoperability, health IT, implementation

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WASHINGTON – Today a group of technology leaders from Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce came together at the CMS Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference to reaffirm a commitment to interoperability made one year ago, and to share progress and plans to move decisively forward on this pledge.

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