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HL7, Dental Group to Develop HIT Standards

Health Level Seven (HL7) and the American Dental Association (ADA) announced that they signed an Associate Charter Agreement to develop joint initiatives to harmonize healthcare informatics standards to create consistent dental IT standards in the United States and enhance the coordination of patient care between medical and dental practices.

“Developing standards to harmonize dental records with electronic health records systems in the U.S. will improve and enhance the coordination of patient care by allowing information to pass between hospitals and medical and dental offices,” says Ed Hammond, PhD, board chair of HL7. “HL7 envisions consistent data collection across the complete continuum of care to enable interoperability of electronic health record systems worldwide.

Dentists are often the first healthcare providers to detect diabetes and other systemic illnesses because they are often seen more frequently than a patient's primary care physician.

“The Standards Committee on Dental Informatics (SCDI) is working to develop a smooth interface between dental and medical systems to allow a patient's physician and dentist to alert each other of healthcare issues through integrated electronic health information,” says Mark Diehl, chair of the SCDI Subcommittee on Electronic Health Records. “Where there is a complex case, we want to have a dental extension to the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) to alert dentists so they know what is going on the medical side.”

This agreement will facilitate the following joint projects between the two organizations:

• The Dental Continuity of Care Document (Dental CCD) implementation will promote coordination of services across medical and dental professions.

• The Electronic Dental Record Functional Profile will ensure compatibility between electronic medical and dental systems to eliminate gaps in function and content.

• A cross map between the ANSI/ADA and HL7’s standards will allow system developers to easily build a standards-compliant database for the HL7 Reference Information Model (RIM) and Specification 1000.

The SCDI is responsible for developing and approving any dental content and functional requirements to be used in all HL7 standards that apply to the United States.

“Cross mapping the RIM and Specification No. 1000 will do a lot of the mapping exercise that all of the developers would have to do in parallel,” says Diehl.  “Instead of doing it themselves, they can use the cross mapping to save time.” This will allow a developer to more easily create a relational database that is RIM compliant.

Source: Health Level Seven