Healthcare Terminologies to align for more Interoperable EMRs

I chanced upon this article from Pulse.IT and thought I’ll repost the good news here.

The standards organisations behind the healthcare terminologies LOINC and SNOMED have signed a 10-year agreement to begin work aligning the two terminologies, which they say will make electronic medical records more effective for patient care.

LOINC, or Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, was developed by the US-based Regenstrief Institute to provide a definitive standard for identifying clinical information in electronic reports.

SNOMED Clinical Terms (CT) is a logic-based healthcare terminology developed following the merger of the SNOMED Reference Terminology, devised by the College of American Pathologists, and the Read codes developed by the UK’s National Health Service for general practice applications.

SNOMED CT is now maintained and developed by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO).

The Regenstrief Institute and the IHTSDO have now signed a long-term agreement to link the two terminologies, which they say will help improve safety, functionality and interoperability of EMRs.

In a statement, the two not-for-profit organisations said the cooperative work will link the rich clinical semantics of SNOMED CT to LOINC codes, which provide extensive coverage of laboratory tests and some types of clinical measurements.

“By aligning how the two terminologies represent the attributes of laboratory tests and some types of clinical measurements, this collaboration will provide users a common framework within which to use LOINC and SNOMED CT,” the organisations said.

They said the immediate focus would be on laboratory testing as well as some basic clinical measurements, and that they intend to expand into other areas of mutual interest in the future.

Associate director of terminology services at the Regenstrief, Daniel Vreeman, said the institute believed the joint work will enhance the ability of clinical systems worldwide to share and understand the health data they receive from many sources.

“This joint work will add value to both LOINC and SNOMED CT and will help both organisations accomplish more by reducing duplicate effort,” Professor Vreeman said. “Most importantly, a closer alignment of LOINC and SNOMED CT will make electronic health records more effective at improving healthcare.”

Australian health informatician and chair of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia’s (RCPA) informatics advisory committee, Michael Legg, said the agreement was “very pleasing news”.

“It will improve the quality and value of both SNOMED and LOINC,” Professor Legg said. “Recognising this, Australia has been very supportive of such cooperation between Regenstrief and IHTSDO, both formally and informally, for years.

“In anticipation of such an agreement being struck, the RCPA and other members of the Pathology Associations Council have made use of both LOINC and SNOMED in its work to standardise pathology terminology.

“The standardisation process continues here with another round of focused effort to further improve aspects of the quality and safety of pathology requesting and reporting with the Pathology Information, Terminology and Units Standardisation (PITUS) project.”

The PITUS project follows the successful conclusion of the Pathology Units and Terminology Standardisation (PUTS) project, which developed reference sets of terminology for pathology requesting and reporting and preferred units of measurement for results.

This has led to the development of an Australian Pathology Units and Terminology Standard (APUTS). Professor Legg said the PITUS project was a continuation of this work, and will concentrate on the implementation of the standard in working medical practices and pathology providers.

A committee overseeing the implementation of the standards in pathology and desktop systems is co-chaired by Professor Legg and Professor Graham Jones in association with NEHTA and the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA).

The standardised terminology is being used as a component of metadata for the index entry of pathology reports in the PCEHR.

Updates to the Inaugural HL7 Asia Symposium and General Assembly

Dear all,

I’m back in Singapore and thought I will provide an update to the Inaugural HL7 Asia Symposium and General Assembly held recently in Tokyo, Japan.

The symposium was in my opinion, a success as the intended objectives of sharing knowledge, experiences and forging closer relationships for upcoming collaborations were definitely met.

For the event, we had Dr. Charles Jaffe, CEO of HL7 International, Dr. Michio Kimura, Chair of HL7 Japan, Dr. Byoung-Kee Yi, Chair of HL7 Korea, Dr. Donglei Feng, Vice-Chair of HL7 China and myself, Chair of HL7 Singapore.

In addition, we also had speakers from Japan, China and Korea and it is precisely this mix of speakers and audience that makes the entire symposium interesting as the perspective shared are from a global yet local point-of-view.

There is one particular observation I would like to share – all of these countries are utilising HL7 CDA and IHE profiles in large-scale health IT implementations. This provides a sense of indication on the viability of these established standards in the quest to achieve interoperability.

In all, I am glad that I made the trip to the Inaugural HL7 Asia Symposium. Till HL7 Asia Symposium 2014!

Inaugural HL7 Asia Symposium and General Assembly

Dear all,

HL7 Asia is organising the Inaugural HL7 Asia Symposium and General Assembly from 18 – 19 July 2013 in Tokyo, Japan.

Titled “Healthcare for the 21st Century in Asia -HL7 leads Standardized Approach” , distinguished speakers across Asia (mainly representatives from the relevant local HL7 affiliates) will cover topics like Cloud Computing , Mobile Health, Info Button, -Meaningful Use and EHR/PHR.

Due to budget constraints, I will serve as the sole representative (and speaker) from Singapore but I understand that there are  strong representation (up to 4 delegates) from China, South Korea and of course, Japan (there will be attendees from other countries throughout Asia attending the symposium too).

As the only representative, I will be doubling up on duties throughout the two days;

  • 18 Jul
    • Serve as Chair for Symposium 1
    • Present a topic ‘Image Enabling the EHR’ at Symposium 2
  • 19 Jul
    • Present updates pertaining to HL7 in Singapore at Symposium 3
    • Present a topic ‘One Patient, One Record in Singapore’ at the Joint Symposium with HL7 Japan

I will post more updates after the event but if you are thinking of making the trip to Tokyo for the Inaugural HL7 Asia Symposium and General Assembly, then drop me an email.

Do note that there is a nominal fee of US$100.00 payable to HL7 Japan (to cover some of the cost). Please ping me if you are interested in attending!