Interoperability Showcase to demo C-CDA

The 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition offers the Interoperability Showcase for attendees whose itinerary at healthcare IT's largest event includes interactive demonstrations of live clinical information systems.

Situated in the La Nouvelle Ballroom (Level 2) of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, the Interoperability Showcase allows attendees to assume the role of patient and watch their health records move across multiple points of care. The Showcase, which runs from Monday March 4 through Wednesday March 6, also provides "health stories" -- clinical use cases that span multiple patient care settings, including ambulatory, acute care and inpatient.

One such case will demonstrate the use of HL7's Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA), which enables exchange of information between clinical systems. Arjen Westerink, director of business marketing at VitalHealth Software, explained his company's role in the demonstration: "Most of the people who will be attending will probably be familiar with the fact that meaningful use is here. So most physician practices – whether general family medicine physician practices or any type of specialty practice -- will likely be looking to either update an existing EMR to become meaningful use-compliant or looking at a new solution to implement that is meaningful use-certified."

He added, "Stage 1 is behind us. Stage 2, which is now called ONC 2014 Edition, is really in full swing. And it has a fair number of requirements for EHR vendors to support the electronic exchange of data between systems. For example, a patient may need to be referred to a specialist or to an imaging center -- or the patient may have come from an imaging center and is going back to the physician for a follow-up. In all these situations, there is a real need for sharing of information in the various settings."

Meaningful use specifies that EHR vendors must support a continuity-of-care document, which is part of the C-CDA. "Supporting C-CDA documents will become increasingly useful and important -- and probably mandatory over time," said Westerink. "As we go into meaningful use Stage 3, there will be a need to support more C-CDA document types such as progress notes, operative notes and consultation notes. Unstructured documents will be included as well."

The health story will follow the care process for a hypothetical patient who moves from one provider to the next – from a primary care physician to an imaging center to an oncologist to a surgeon, and finally, to a long-term care provider.

"It's important for attendees to look at solutions that will support this architecture and standard going forward," commented Westerink. "It's not for nothing that meaningful use requirements dictate that you have to support this standard. It's really useful, and hopefully the health story will help illustrate that."