HL7 pilot aims to develop medical informatics standards

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A new pilot program by Health Level Seven International (HL7) was launched recently, intended to encourage healthcare providers to participate in the development of medical informatics standards.

The HL7 Caregiver Membership program aims to give healthcare providers greater input on the development of medical informatics standards including ease of use, clinical applications and the interoperability of health information exchange. Additionally, members joining the program will benefit from professional networking opportunities with healthcare IT industry leaders.

“HL7 standards are the most widely used in the industry,” said Don Mon, chair of the organization’s board of directors. “Caregiver members will not only gain first-hand exposure to the standards and technology that drive clinical summaries, laboratory results, prescriptions and public health and quality data, they will have a direct channel to influence the clinical technology requirements that support an increasingly patient-centered healthcare system.”

The organization is currently working on several standardization projects, including the development of the Preoperative Domain Analysis Model (DAM), Emergency Medical System DAM, Neonatal Functional Profile and the second iteration of the Electronic Health Records System Functional Model.

According to Information Week, disparities in the standards used by various medical informatics vendors and increasingly complex regulatory compliance legislation has led to a divide in healthcare IT implementation.

The news source cited a study published in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs, which revealed a 22 percent gap in medical informatics adoption between smaller healthcare facilities and large hospitals last year. This represents an increase of 7 percentage points from data published in 2010.

One suggestion outlined in the report was to educate healthcare professionals on the standards set forth in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ meaningful use incentive program and how medical informatics technology can directly impact the quality of care for patients.